Mario Balotelli is hardly ever not in the news, especially during the transfer periods.
The 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil may be just days away, but the transfer rumour-mill never stops. In recent days, there have been suggestions that AC Milan are willing to let their prized asset leave, with his former club Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all being linked to the 23-year-old.
We now look at the reasons why a return to the Premier League for the Italy international could and could not happen.
Reasons why Mario Balotelli could return to England
1) Balotelli has unfinished business in the Premier League. True, he is a very talented striker and did contribute to City winning the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League in 2012, but there was always a lingering suspicion that he could have done more. His off-pitch shenanigans often overshadowed his on-pitch prowess, and Balotelli may be keen to set the record straights.
2) In Italy, Balotelli has often been subject to racist abuse by opposition fans and there have been suggestions that he could leave his homeland. In England, he was hounded by the paparazzi, but he was subject to no racism.
3) Make what you will of Balotelli’s personality, he is a very good footballer and has the potential to be world class. After joining Milan from Manchester City in January 2013, the Italian scored 12 goals in as many starts in Serie A and helped the Rossoneri to a top-three finish. In 2013-14, the 23-year-old scored 14 goals and provided six assists in 25 league starts, despite his injury problems. If he can focus only on his football, then Balotelli can certainly reach the heights he has long been expected to.
Reasons why Mario Balotelli would not return to England
1) During his time in England, Balotelli often hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. He was a goldmine for the tabloids, and he did not help his case with his off-pitch antics. The Italian left England complaining of his privacy being breached and also moaned about the weather and the food. While he did enjoying playing in the Premier League, he probably did not like living in England.
2) According to The Mirror, Milan will demand £30 million for Balotelli – a price that not many clubs will be keen to pay. City reportedly have the first refusal on the former Inter Milan striker, but it is unlikely that they will re-sign him even with Manuel Pellegrini as the manager. The likes of Arsenal and Liverpool are unlikely to spend that much money on a striker who has yet to really convince everyone that he can be one of the best, and one who can blow hot and cold.
3) Even while at Inter, Balotelli did not hide his love for Milan. He supported the Rossoneri as a kid and now that he finally gets to play for them, it does not look very likely that he will leave without making a name for himself at the Italian giants. Moreover, Milan are looking to build a team around Balotelli and given his age and the potential he has, they are unlikely to sell him, unless of course a very tempting offer is made.