Five reasons Chelsea should steer clear of Balotelli

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli has been linked with a potential €35 million move to Chelsea in January by his agent.

Mino Raiola claims the Italian forward and Blues boss Jose Mourinho maintain a good relationship and are in regular contact since the Portuguese coach worked with him as a youngster at Inter Milan prior to his £19 million move to Manchester City.

The player’s agent hinted the possibility of a move to Stamford Bridge could be tempting for Balotelli but here’s five good reasons why Chelsea should keep him at arms length…

1) Overrated

I do not deny that Balotelli has ability but I’m nowhere near convinced he possesses the quality yet to justify a €35 million price tag. He has scored three goals and made one assist in five Serie A appearances for AC Milan so far this season, averaging a goal every 137 minutes, which isn’t bad, but it’s not exactly sensational is it? Last season he managed just one solitary Premier League goal for Manchester City across 14 league games before he was sold this January.

In fairness, when he arrived back at the San Siro he managed to score 12 goals in 13 Serie A games which is much better but half a season of good form is, I’m afraid, not enough on its own.

2) Indiscipline

Maybe he’d be worth taking a calculated risk on if he wasn’t such a liability – both on and off the pitch – he gets himself sent off far too frequently, he doesn’t follow instructions, he is antagonistic towards referees and even his own teammates – it’s no wonder Roberto Mancini threatened tried to throttle him. He’s a manager’s worst nightmare and somehow he always manages to steal the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

He’s almost got as many cards as he has goals so far in his short career (70 yellows, 3 straight reds, and 5 second yellows leading to a red) that’s a total of 78 cards; he’s only scored 89 goals. Off the pitch, it gets even worse – he’s an accident (or a jail sentence) waiting to happen.

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3) Immaturity

This leads me to the crux of the problem – his immaturity – you could expect, forgive and excuse an 18-year-old or even maybe a 21-year-old but Mario Balotelli is 23 years old now and has been playing at senior level for five or six years. He really ought to know better – he ought to know what kind of behavior is acceptable and what kind isn’t, on and off the pitch. He seems to think the rules don’t apply to him.

4) Attitude

Which brings me to his attitude – his ego problems are on the verge completely destroying his career. That t-shirt epitomizes a young man with an inferiority complex, perhaps even delusions of persecution: “why always me?” Perhaps the answer to that question is: because you’re always the one being a pain in the backside. He is not positive, he is not focused, he is not committed and he is not a team player. It’s all about Mario; even when it’s not – he’s so self-absorbed and self-centered he can’t put the team first.

5) Application

Finally, the first point on this list relates to the last – he’s overrated because, yes, he has natural talent and yes he has ability but so far we have yet to see any real tangible sign that he intends to fulfill is potential. He seems far more concerned with his material goods, his lifestyle, his social networking, his appearance, his status, his reputation and his bank balance than he is with doing the thing he, ironically, is paid to do.

If Mario Balotelli worked as hard as Frank Lampard he could probably be as good a striker in time as Didier Drogba – he’s got the raw ingredients – but, at 23 he lacks the application, focus and commitment to achieve anywhere near that level in his career. I haven’t seen a substantial improvement in his ability, his technique, his decision-making, his reading of the game in the last five years.

When you think of a player like, for example, Romelu Lukaku whose development even in the last year has been incredible and Daniel Sturridge too, you realize Mario Balotelli does not work hard enough. He doesn’t work hard enough on the pitch and I suspect it’s the same case in training.

image: © mcr_joe

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