Balotelli for Van Persie swap suggested, who gets the better deal?


There are rumours in Italy that AC Milan want to trade Mario Balotelli for Robin van Persie with Manchester United, but who would come off best?

Enigmatic Italian international marksman Mario Balotelli's future looks less and less likely to be at AC Milan and the Rossoneri are being linked with a sensational attempt to trade him in for unsettled Manchester United man Robin van Persie.

The chances of such a transfer taking place seem to be extremely slim to say the least, but if it were to happen who would be the beneficiaries?

In a poll on Italian site Sportmediaset, a resounding 85 percent of voters believed that Milan should trade Balotelli for van Persie if they get the chance.

On one hand, it's hard to argue with that 85 percent. Balotelli is infuriatingly inconsistent, prone to tantrums, a liability in the press room and has never managed a season to rival van Persie at his best.

But while Super Mario can't challenge the van Persie of his final campaign with Arsenal, the Dutchman is not meeting those standards at the moment and injury doubts linger over his long-term future.

Meanwhile, Balotelli has been his usual tempestuous self but has managed to net 14 times in Serie A for a Milan side that have often been dismal while not seeming to apply himself much of the time.

Unlike van Persie, the truth is that we've never seen the best of Balotelli. There have been flashes of brilliance at Inter, Manchester City and at Milan, but at 23 he can still get better under the right tutelage. And that's why he maintains an allure perhaps disproportionate to his pedigree.

It has become somewhat tiresome to speculate on how good Balotelli could be and it's possible he never will fulfil his true potential, but he certainly won't as long as he's playing at Milan where he feels he only has to give 80 percent to be the standout player.

There have been signs of late that Balotelli understands his career could be slipping away. His place at the World Cup this summer seems safe, but with a decent crop of young Italian strikers coming through, it's not guaranteed.

In an angry tirade on live TV aimed at pundits who accused him of not being a 'top player', Balotelli declared that he didn't ever say he was a 'top player' but felt that critics put unrealistic expectations on his shoulders in Italy. "They expect me to score five goals a game", he complained.

A move to United would be make or break for Balotelli and would be akin to a highly-rated up and coming boxer finally taking on a big hitter. But in England nobody would expect five goals a game, Balotelli wouldn't always be back page news and he could thrive on having to earn that right as he had to at Man City.

From Manchester United's point of view, trading van Persie for Balotelli would be a massive gamble and one they are highly unlikely to take, especially if Louis Van Gaal is appointed, but it's just possible it could pay off.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch