Transfer news – Mario Balotelli set for Manchester City
Mario Balotelli has agreed to join the revolution at Manchester City after Inter Milan reportedly accepted a £23million bid from the English club.
The transfer would take City’s spending past £100million, after similar big-money moves involving David Silva, Yaya Toure and Jerome Boateng. Left-back Aleksandar Kolarov is also close to signing for £17million.
19-year-old Balotelli arrives with a reputation for explosive strikes and even more explosive outbursts, having famously fallen out with Jose Mourinho while in Milan.
However, as boss at Inter, City manager Roberto Mancini enjoyed a good relationship with the forward – who has scored more goals than Roberto Baggio at the same age.
Should Mancini manage to focus the player’s fiery temperament on opponents rather than team-mates, a trophy could follow. City are 5/1 joint-second favourites to win the Carling Cup.
The similarity between City’s trolley dash and Chelsea’s splurge during the early Roman Abramovich years has been duly noted by most, with many pundits tipping City to win the Premier League this season.
The Eastlands team are 5/1 third-favourites to repeat Chelsea’s 2004/05 title-winning exploits, but a closer look at precedent would hint that it will be at least another year before they sit atop the pile.
An Abu Dhabi-backed supermarket sweep has stronger echoes of Blackburn Rovers’ quick-fire spending from the early 90s.
Jack Walker helped a small town reach the Premier League summit after investing around £25million from December 1991, while still in the old Division Two.
It took four and a half seasons for the title to be delivered – City have only been spending big bucks since the summer of 2008, after finishing ninth in the league.
In comparison, Chelsea had come fourth just before Abromovich came calling, securing the title a speedy two years later.
While City will hope for such a quick turnaround, Mancini will have his work cut out moulding all the new stars into a cohesive team.
After finishes of 10th and fifth, the curve is clearly an upwards one – but this season seems too soon. Maybe the FA Cup, at odds of 7/1 is more realistic.
However, ending the season in second may not be such a bad thing. Both Blackburn, in 1993/94, and Chelsea, in 2003/04, came runner-up the year before winning the title.