Mino Raiola Hints at Serie A, Premier League Return for Mario Balotelli

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2018

FILE- In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 file photo, Nice's forward Mario Balotelli, of Italy, reacts during the Europa League group I soccer match between OGC Nice and FC Salzburg, in Nice stadium, southeastern France. Nice striker Mario Balotelli’s teammate Alassane Pleas has confirmed he heard Bastia supporters racially abusing Balotelli with monkey chants during the league match on Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)
Claude Paris/Associated Press

Mario Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, has said he's already speaking to several clubs from Serie A and the Premier League about a return for his client, who he believes is worth €100 million. 

The Italy international's contract will run out in the summer, meaning he can leave Nice and join a new club on a free transfer. Speaking to Rai (h/t AS) Raiola name-dropped several Italian teams he's talking to and said Balotelli would be a bargain:

"Mario is ready to come back to Italy. He is one of the 10 best strikers in the world, and the No. 1 in Italy.

"He is worth €100 million, but he is a free agent so he is a bargain.

"I'm already negotiating with many teams in England and Italy. I talked with Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Inter.

"AC Milan? No, because there is [sporting director Massimiliano] Mirabelli, and I can't talk with him, I'm not at his level."

Italian-born Dutch football agent Mino Raiola speaks to journalists on September 2, 2016 during presentation of Nice's football club new signings at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southeastern France. / AFP / VALERY HACHE        (Photo credit should
VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

The former Manchester City, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Liverpool man has rediscovered his shooting boots in France, scoring double-digit goals in back-to-back seasons for Nice.

His career as a top-level forward seemed all but over after a failed stint with Liverpool and Milan, but two good seasons with Nice have worked wonders. Here's a look at his Ligue 1 goals from last season:

Nice have a reputation for helping players get their careers back on track―they previously restored Hatem Ben Arfa to the France national team, earning him a move to Paris Saint-Germain along the way.

Balotelli could follow a similar path, as star Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon also expressed his support, per Football Italia:

Competition for the national team will be fierce, as Lazio's Ciro Immobile is in fantastic form and primed to lead the line for the Azzurri going forward. The likes of Torino's Andrea Belotti, Valencia's Simone Zaza and Milan's Patrick Cutrone also appear to be ahead in the pecking order at this point.

Raiola emphasised talks with Italian clubs, and a Serie A return seems more likely than a move to the Premier League. The 27-year-old enjoyed his best years on the peninsula, breaking through at Inter and establishing himself as a top forward at Milan before his move to Liverpool.

In England, he's mostly remembered for his shenanigans with City and poor form at Liverpool. Goal put together a list of some of his most peculiar moments, and he's only added to it since:

His tremendous talent means Balotelli should find a home for next season―even if drama seems to follow him wherever he goes.

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