Controversial Italian striker Mario Balotelli looks set to be leaving Manchester City in the near future, the papers reporting he has moved out of his rented mansion although manager Roberto Mancini denies that he is set to leave the club. With AC Milan alleged favourites for the strikers signature, either on loan or permanently would he be the sort of striker Tottenham Hotspur could take a potential gamble on?
Anyone who saw his performance for Italy against Germany at the Euro’s last summer, will agree that on his day he is a class striker, managing to keep fellow Italian Antonio Di Natale out of the first team set up and putting two past Manuel Neuer in the German goal. The problem for him has been the infrequency at which he manages to hit the top of his game, although his goal record for Manchester City is 20 goals in 53 games, which isn’t bad for a 22-year-old limited to substitute appearances its the poor and often sporadic behaviour on the pitch that hinders him.
Easily lured into unnecessary challenges and lacking a real team ethic, he fell out with Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan as well as causing leading players like Javier Zanetti to question his work ethic on the pitch.
However, the dilemma Spurs have, world class strikers are of an abundance. At just 22 and putting his reputation aside, he fits the mould of an Andre Villas-Boas striker perfectly; strong, powerful, quick and has a sharp eye for goal. Moreover he’s undoubtedly experienced, winning the Serie A on three separate occasions, the Champions League, the Premier League and the FA cup, giving him more honours in his four year spell at the top than Brad Friedel in his illustrious career spanning some 20+ years.
It’s his unruly reputation that would be the problem, Redknapp’s man management skill would’ve been a great asset to putting the youngster back on track, but Villas-Boas and company have more than satisfactory experience in developing young players into world class talent; Luis Martins responsible for pushing through Cristiano Ronaldo and Joao Moutinho at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal and Freund having managed the German youth set up before re-joining Spurs’ management team. Villas-Boas is also sure to have learned from his time at Chelsea in how to deal with untoward players.
Convincing the player himself to join would be a task in itself, Levy a man notoriously tight with the money will be hard to convince as City will be looking to re-coup as much of the £18Mm they paid for him, if they where to sell him. The excess fees he paid for strikers Roman Pavlyuchenko and Darren Bent will also have made him wary of overspending on a player. Although all hypothetical the strikers previous with our club – stamping on Scott Parkers head and then scoring the winning penalty – probably isn’t the best background for a potential move. Then again, Spurs did take onboard Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas from Arsenal and goals speak volumes.
Super Mario, as he is dubbed by the media, is no doubt a class striker on his day, put up top on a regular basis he can perform. His composure in front of goal is Berbatov-esque, it’s only when things get heated can he let you down. As much as he is controversial its hard to say he isn’t an incredibly exciting prospect and if he where ever to pull on a Spurs shirt, it would make the rollercoaster that is being a Spurs fan that bit more hectic.