Mario Balotelli has been linked with a loan move away from Manchester City to AC Milan. We wouldn't recommend it.
Mario Balotelli is never far from the headlines at Manchester City, whether he is playing well, playing badly - Or simply doing something crazy like allowing his mates to set off fireworks from his apartment balcony.
A year ago after the Manchester Derby he was laughing after unveiling his 'Why Always Me' t-shirt as he scored two to put rivals United to the sword 6-1 on their home turf.
12 months on his performance against the same opponents was roundly criticised, he was hauled off by manager Roberto Mancini after an ineffective display, and conflicting reports have claimed the manager is ready to give up on his maverick striker and show him the door.
One option put forward by the Mirror yesterday was the option of sending Balotelli on loan to AC Milan, which the Serie A club are said to be pushing for. Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri told Talksport earlier today: "Milan is working on a plan to get someone on loan for the second part of the season and their biggest wish would be for Mario Balotelli."
But here's why we aren't so sure a loan would be the right move for City, in fact it could backfire.
Balotelli is as we know a very complex character, but his top talent and young age means he is worth millions. City could fetch around £20-30 million for him if they place him on the market.
While Mancini sticks with him and tries to get the best out of him, City at least have that safety net that they can cash in for him - And crucially in AC Milan they have a willing buyer, even if the Italians are presently having a few financial issues - such is the scale and size of the club, sooner or later if the desire is there the Serie A giants will surely put in a big bid for him.
City's problem if they loan Balotelli is that he will destroy that desire that Milan have, and leave them stuck with him.
Balotelli is just as likely to have a huge falling out, or do something crazy in Milan, that makes him suddenly undesirable to the Italians than he is do up his value on the pitch.
If that happens then City will lose out on their best chance of selling the striker, as his options for a move will suddenly diminish considerably, with other Serie A clubs also likely to be put off.
If Milan want him that badly, they must pay for him, because a loan really could backfire on City and leave them stuck with the striker for two or three more seasons. That may not be a bad thing if City can get him performing consistently and to the top of his potential, but right now that looks a long way off happening.
Do you agree loaning Balotelli is the wrong play for City?
image: © praguegallagher