The January transfer window has developed in to a bit of a non-event. I don’t know about you, but I have become increasingly disappointed with it despite the transfer speculation that persistently rumbles on across the digital football space between September and December. The majority of managers and chairmen consider the January window a bad time to do business and a pattern has formed throughout Europe where the top sides sit back and watch the clubs in trouble scrape around for what they can get – usually players from the bottom of the barrel.
There are some exceptions to that rule; for example, it is the last chance to get any kind of fee for any players coming to the end of their contracts. We have seen Spurs reportedly ‘locked’ in talks to speed up the arrival of Lewis Holtby from Schalke if reports are to be believed. Another scenario is if a player has a release clause in their contract, such as we have seen with Demba Ba, who signed for Chelsea as a player that represented value-for-money at only £7.5m. West Ham’s Mohamed Diame could become another to have his clause triggered, but generally big clubs want to sell their dead wood and smaller sides seem to want to collect up that dead wood to use as a survival raft.
There as another reason that a player could move in the transfer window…BECAUSE THEY ARE A PAIN IN THE A*s. And it is defending Premier League Champions Manchester City who have a player who fits the category or else they could miss a golden opportunity to cash in on a player that has brought more than his fair share of controversy and disruption to the Etihad.
Unless you’ve spent the last two years in a cave somewhere between Mars and the Moon, you’ll know that player is Mario Balotelli. The Italian has occupied the front pages of the British tabloids more often that he’s appeared on the back pages and, despite the odd flash of quality, in two and a half seasons with City you’d be hard pressed to find somebody happy to describe Balotelli’s English adventure as anything more than largely disappointing.
Once heralded as a player that could be one of the world’s best, Balotelli’s behaviour constantly overshadows Manchester City. Whilst at City, his actions have ranged from histrionic to the downright petulant and even Roberto Mancini’s patience seems to have grown thinner and thinner in recent months.
It is time for Manchester City to sell Mario Balotelli.
City paid Inter Milan £25.9m for Balotelli’s signature in August 2010, but Balotelli’s shenanigans since landing in England have put City in a difficult position. Balotelli’s talent is clear, but his value and appeal decreases with every training ground bust-up, on-field spat or bizarre incident.
In Balotelli’s defence, he has been keeping his head down lately…unfortunately, that applies to Balotelli both on and off the pitch. Balotelli’s performance this season have been poor. This return is just three goals in 20 appearances, 11 of which as sub, in all competitions. If this form continues this season, come the summer, it could be as big a deterrent for potential buyers as his lunatic character.
The problem is, who could/would buy Mario Balotelli?
Inter apparently negotiated first refusal on Balotelli when they originally sold him and with Wesley Sneijder’s departure its not like they couldn’t afford the wages, but a move seems unlikely.
Another Premier League side perhaps? Harry Redknapp would take him, but the word on the street is a loan is out of the questions and QPR are hardly likely to pay £20m for him. Spurs and Arsenal could both do with some additional firepower, but again it seems highly unlikely.
Italy does seem an obvious choice and despite reports to the contrary, AC Milan could be a possible destination. Milan supremo Silvio Berlusconi recently described Balotelli as a “rotten apple” – quite a statement considering that comes from a man who seems rotten to the core – whilst Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said: “At today’s price it’s 99.5 per cent certain that he is not coming”. The conspirators out there will have you believe this is a smoke screen…
With elections in Italy only a few months away and Silvio Berlusconi likely to run for PM again, a major coup in the transfer window could see many undecided AC Milan fans opting to vote for him. As laughable and far-fetched as it might sound, it is a more common practice than many in Rome, Milan and Naples than the inhabitants would care to admit. The former Italian PM already performed exactly the same trick when he signed Ronaldinho a few years ago.
Whatever happens, Balotelli has etched himself in to the history of the Premier League as perhaps the most controversial player of all time. Many football fans will be sad to see such a player depart these shores, but if Manchester City are sensible, it could be the opportune moment to call time on the tenure of a player that could just as easily help them retain the Premier League title as he could contribute to them losing it.
Have you had enough of Balotelli or do you want more? Should he be sold or should the club keep him until the end of the season? Leave your comment below as we want to here from the real football fans out there that make football what it is! To get a more balanced view on this January’s transfer window follow us on Twitter or check out our Facebook page for the latest things you need to know!