There were few strikers as on form as AC Milan’s Stephan El Shaarawy in the first half of the season, with all eyes on the 20-year-old as he scored 16 times before the turn of the year.
However since Mario Balotelli arrived at the San Siro, El Shaarawy’s form has dipped, and there are now suggestions that Manchester City might be able to convince Milan to sell the young striker with a huge €40million bid.
Manchester City had reportedly been interested in El Shaarawy in January, with speculation that they hoped to use Balotelli in a deal.
Milan might have turned down any such move in the winter, but Balotelli might yet be key in City’s pursuit of El Shaarawy, as the pair have not clicked in the Italian side’s attack.
Balotelli himself has been in wonderful form since returning to Italy, scoring twelve times in thirteen appearances, but his success has come at a cost for El Shaarawy.
The 20-year-old scored an 85th minute winner against Udinese in the last game before Balotelli’s arrival, and since then has only found the net once for Milan.
As a young player, his slump could simply be blamed on the effects of a long season where he was the key man in a Milan team that often struggled.
It is also fair to say that both El Shaarawy and Balotelli are young, and have plenty of time to form a formidable partnership for both club and country. However if Milan believe they could struggle as a pair next season, they might be tempted to cash in if Manchester City really are prepared to pay €40million.
That would be double the price Milan paid for Balotelli, and the Italian side might consider it good business to have ended up with the 22-year-old and €20million for El Shaarawy, especially in light of Balotelli’s fantastic recent form.
From the neutral’s point of view, it would be disappointing not to see two incredibly talented young players given a chance to play together after a full pre-season, but Manchester City fans would understandably be delighted if they landed El Shaarawy this summer.
image: © mcr_joe