Manchester City are gearing up for a January raid from two European superpowers for their controversial striker Mario Balotelli.
Paris St Germain and AC Milan are set to slug it out to acquire the services of the 22-year-old, who is constantly doing the hokey-cokey with Roberto Mancini’s bad books. The latter are the 6/4 favourites with Ladbrokes to be his next employers, while PSG are hot on their heels as 9/4 shots.
It appears to be a question of when, not if, Super Mario bids arrivederchi to Manchester and the bookies are offering a price of 3/1 that says he hands in a transfer request after being omitted from the City squad for the 5-0 trouncing of Aston Villa.
Mancini won’t be keen on shipping him off to one of the Citizens’ domestic rivals, if any would take such a troublesome individual, so a move to the continent appears on the cards.
The two clubs at the front of the queue can offer different qualities that are equally capable of enticing the Italian international to sign with them.
PSG have a phenomenal wealth; one that reportedly dwarfs Man City’s. They could not only stump the inflated transfer fee the reigning champions of England are sure to demand for his services, but pay him some eye-watering wages as well.
Milan can’t compete with the pull of Paris in this department, yet they are the club Balotelli supports, as pictures of him, naturally, donning an AC shirt whilst playing for bitter rivals Inter will attest.
If they could come up with a reasonable financial package, they could tempt Balotelli back to the city on sentimental grounds.
He would also be guaranteed more playing time at AC than he would at the Parc des Princes, who have Zlatan Ibrahimovic leading the line with Ezequiel Lavezzi providing the support.
Although dropping Balotelli in the same dressing room as Ibra would make an exceptionally entertaining reality-TV programme, the clash of such enormous egos would not be healthy for PSG.
The two were pretty tranquil when together at Inter, but that was when Balotelli was much younger, when he couldn’t really expect to oust such a world class talent from the team. He’s not likely to be so reserved about sitting on the PSG bench.
If he moved to struggling Milan, he would almost certainly be guaranteed a starting berth in his preferred position of centre forward with their current main goal-threats Alexandre Pato and Giampaolo Pazzini out of sorts.
His tempestuous attitude has often hindered his performances on the pitch, but he has still managed 19 goals in 49 Premier League appearances; not the most prolific record, but reasonable given that he spends half the time suspended or out of favour.
Regular football could be just what he needs to realise his huge potential, having done reasonably well in a bit-part role at City.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date