Milan will reportedly seek to use a different tack in their bid to offload striker Mario Balotelli to Arsenal this summer, with reports claiming the Rossoneri want to take Gunners youngster Joel Campbell in the opposite direction.
Italian newspaper Tuttosport (h/t 101GreatGoals) claims the Rossoneri have been a fan of the Costa Rican sensation since seeing him entertain on loan at Olympiakos.
Since then, Campbell has enjoyed a 2014 World Cup campaign in which he helped lead the Central Americans to the quarter-finals before they were ousted by the Netherlands, the eventual third-place finishers.
Metro's Lee Hurley has reported that the deal would cost Arsenal £7.9 million plus Campbell, offering the Gunners a potentially fruitful deal, but not one that comes without its share of dangers.
At present, the club have a highly promising asset in their ranks, currently riding high on a wave of recent praise but untested in Premier League waters.
Balotelli is no veteran either at the age of 23—turning 24 in August—and is a proven asset in the English top flight, but it's well-founded that the Italian is a veritable minefield of emotion and a risky investment by any standards.
|Mario Balotelli vs. Joel Campbell 2013-14 Comparison|
|Player (Club)||League Appearances||Goals||Assists||Goal/Game Ratio||Assist/Game Ratio|
|Mario Balotelli (Milan)||30||14||6||0.47||0.20|
|Joel Campbell (Olympiakos)||32||8||12||0.25||0.375|
That being said, Milan's recently reduced valuation of the forward could be an opportunity too promising to turn down for Arsene Wenger, who is in need of senior attacking options after Olivier Giroud was left so short on cover last season.
Contrary to how some in the Milan hierarchy feel about the fiery-tempered Balotelli, the player's new manager, Filippo Inzaghi, is quoted by Football Italia saying he looks forward to working alongside him:
I am calm, Mario is an important player and I will try to help him improve. I will reset everything that has been said about him, I have no problem with him. I have to make the most of his ability.
Will he leave? The club will decide. If he leaves then we will need a replacement because the prima punte are he and Pazzini. However, I believe that he will remain here. It is a good sign that he has asked for a personal trainer to be with him.
Some may have felt that departed boss Clarence Seedorf would be the one to optimise Balotelli's performances; in Inzaghi, the forward has another mentor of significant credentials, who could yet curtail his more fiendish side.
Milan aren't the only team interested in Campbell, however, with Rob Shepherd of the Daily Mail reporting that Newcastle United, West Ham, Everton and Southampton are also in the hunt for a loan deal.
The Gunners may have the intention of hanging onto the 22-year-old, though, after 101GreatGoals showed images of the striker appearing on the club's official squad page:
Although Wenger's side have shown a new willingness to compete financially in the transfer market, this cut-price move will undoubtedly tempt the club's more bargain-conscious side, should they deem it to possess value.
The north Londoners may have a best-case scenario of seeing both players in their line-up for the 2014-15 season, but it seems Milan will negotiate hard if Balotelli is to return to England.