Newcastle United are trying to sign Mario Balotelli according to reports this morning.
The Mirror claim that Rafa Benitez wants to bring in the ‘temperamental’ striker this January to help bring goals to the club’s relegation battle.
There are at least four things that we know for sure: Mario Balotelli has talent, he is a pain in the backside pretty much everywhere he goes, he will leave Nice and…he won’t sign for Newcastle United.
Newspapers are no doubt linking the Italian striker with pretty much any significant club that is looking for goals this month.
He has had a big falling out with Nice, manager Patrick Vieira leaving him out of the squad these past five weeks and reportedly now having banned him from the training ground as well.
Newcastle were first linked with Balotelli three and a half years ago (see below), summer 2015 had Steve McClaren supposedly approaching Liverpool for a loan deal, the striker having been a disaster for Liverpool after scoring only one Premier League goal in 2014/15 after a big money move from AC Milan.
Nothing of course happened (with regard to Newcastle) and it will be the same this time, even if Rafa wanted him, there is no way Mike Ashley would agree to any deal that would include such massive wages and whatever loan/purchase fee.
Between 2010 and 2014, Mario Balotelli had three big money moves totalling around £65m, going from Inter Milan to Man City to AC Milan to Liverpool.
After going back to AC Milan on loan in summer 2015, rather than to Newcastle, Mario Balotelli joined French club Nice on a free from Liverpool on a one year deal.
He has signed two more of those since but there appears now zero chance of a third renewal, the now 28 year old scoring 33 goals in 46 Ligue 1 starts (plus five appearances off the bench) in the first two years – but not a single goal so far this season.
Expect Mario Balotelli to pop up at another new club this month but it surely won’t be Newcastle United.
The Mag – 2 July 2015:
Newcastle United have made a move for Mario Balotelli according to claims this morning.
The Italian has been an unmitigated disaster for Liverpool, scoring only one Premier League goal over the course of last season after his £16m move from Milan.
With Roberto Firminio and Danny Ings already signed, plus Christian Benteke likely to join them, he looks surplus to requirements at Anfield and the reports claim that Newcastle want to loan him in the coming season.
The Newcastle story is an ‘exclusive’ from the Winner Sports website who haven’t got the greatest strike rate with transfer stories, having already previously claimed United were on the verge of signing Jonny Evans and Rickie Lambert in this summer market.
They further report that Liverpool are yet to respond to Newcastle’s ‘offer’ and would prefer to get Mario Balotelli off their hands permanently, though would consider a loan if a sale doesn’t happen.
Whatever the truth of this exclusive, the longer it goes on without Newcastle United signing at least one or two strikers with a credible past record, it would look more and more likely that Mike Ashley could once again look to rely on a loan signing or two to fill that hole.
This was the case when he tried with mixed results when Loic Remy and Luuk de Jong were brought in at the start and middle of the 2013/14 season respectively.
That summer of 2013 of course saw not a single player bought…
As we all know, Mario Balotelli has his ‘issues’ but for AC Milan he scored 26 goals and only started 37 Serie A matches, so the talent is there.
As was the case with Newcastle United and Loic Remy, sometimes a desperate meeting of needs brings odd combinations together.
Though I think all of us would be surprised to see ‘Super Mario’ in black and white.