Wenger for Balotelli? The previous £40m bid which suggests Arsenal boss actually could

Mario Balotelli -  San Siro, Milan, Italy

Arsenal couldn't possibly want the troublesome and at times reckless but supremely talented Mario Balotelli, could they? Meet Luis Suarez.

Links between Arsenal and Mario Balotelli have cropped up in recent days, and they seem at least purely circumstantial.

Arsenal have agreed a club record kit manufacturing deal with Puma, who Balotelli signed up with in December. Balotelli's current side AC Milan are floundering in Serie A, placed 10th and certain to miss out on Champions League football next season.

But if there is some fuel in this particular fire, it has been dismissed in some quarters, an article on the Bleacher Report arguing:

"Arsene’s success this season has been based upon his building a superb team spirit. Each goal is greeted with huddled celebrations and a genuine sense of camaraderie.

"Wenger must surely fear that Balotelli’s volatile character would threaten that togetherness. Unless Balotelli is prepared to reform and grow up, a move to Arsenal looks all but impossible."

In light of Mario Balotelli's chequered history, including training ground fights with former manager Roberto Mancini, allowing friends to let off fireworks from the balcony of his own apartment, and throwing darts at younger teammates. - 'Why Always Me?', he once infamously asked, in the same season as which he was sent off at the Emirates for two terrible tackles on Alex Song and Bacary Sagna.

So arguments Wenger may not be interested in such a potential loose cannon as Balotelli are at least credible, but they do not tell the full story, nor are they definitive.

Balotelli is a player the Frenchman admires, telling FourFourTwo in 2009: "I consider Inter an excellent squad who can do really well in the Champions League. In particular I am keeping an eye out for Balotelli, a player I like very much. In my view he can be one of the best."

Despite AC Milan's at times wretched form, Balotelli has been superb since signing for them. He scored 12 goals in 13 Serie A matches since signing at the end of last season, and has netted nine in 16 this season.

Concerns over his extrovert behaviour, which does appear to have been toned down slightly, but not eradicated in Milan, are however outdated when considering Arsene Wenger's decision making last summer.

Wenger sanctioned a bid of £40 million (plus £1 controversially), for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez - a player who would have arrived with as much, if not more baggage than Mario Balotelli. 

Suarez was even serving a ban at the time, for biting an opponent on the pitch for the second time in his career, yet the Arsenal boss decided above all of this - his football ability overrode the risk.

It's this bid which answers any question marks over whether Balotelli would be considered by Wenger, yes he would, based on his talent, for the same questions marks were waved aside regarding Suarez.

Of course there are considerations and these are things clubs have to weigh up, but also in Wenger's mind is that he will not be there forever, he wants to win now - and so only may have to put up with Balotelli for a handful of years at the most, rather than the next decade.

Whether there is any fact to the Puma and Balotelli suggestions we will see in the summer, but if it does look like emerging to be the case, don't rule it out based on the two big personalities involved.

image: © Stefano Stabile

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