Stats: How Mario Balotelli compares to Cavani & Mandzukic

Balotelli V Arsenal

Arsenal & Tottenham Hotspur reportedly offered Italy's firecracker but how does he compare to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United targets.

AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, who is expected to be fundamental to any success Italy will have in the upcoming FIFA World Cup tournament, could be on the cusp of a San Siro exit and, according to reports, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will challenge Tottenham Hotspur's interest in the player by making an imminent move - perhaps before the striker's price-tag skyrockets should he excel in Brazil.

The Daily Mirror and Daily Mail have both talked up the possibility of the transfer, which should excite Arsenal fans as Wenger has proven nous of turning seemingly 'unmanageable' characters into exquisite performers - to use just one example; Robin van Persie.

It may seem logical to partner a predatory box-finisher with Arsenal but, perhaps perturbed by his loss on Francis Jeffers and Eduardo Silva, Wenger has - more often than not - preferred strikers who enter multiple areas in the attacking zone and Olivier Giroud is the latest in a long line of multi-faceted N5 attackers.

At Milan, Balotelli has featured in the spear-heading role, ahead of creative forwards like Valter Birsa and Kaka, yet he has varied his positioning and movement, often drifting into both wide channels whilst also threatening through the middle.

The former Manchester City player could, therefore, thrive on the service provided by chance creators such as Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla and even Aaron Ramsey. Plus, Balotelli's physical attributes (6ft 3in/ 13 stone and 12 pounds) lend itself to aerial dominance, as evidenced by his 40% success rate in the air, which could be an asset when a fit Theo Walcott lofts in crosses from wide.

PlayerClubAerialPass AccChancesDribblesFouledShotsGoalsAssistsMinutes
 Balotelli  Milan  23/57  73%  32  57 101  5.1 (152) 14  6  2,294
 Cavani  PSG  9/17  86%  23  18  30  3.2 (96)   16   2   2,298
 Mandzukic  Bayern  89/185  73%  30  20  39  2.5 (76) 18  4  2,019

Out of the three main drifting forwards linked with a Premier League switch, there is one clear winner when it comes to passing accuracy - Edinson Cavani, of Paris Saint-Germain, who comes out on top over both Balotelli and Bayern Munich man Mario Mandzukic.

All three have led the line for their respective clubs but have also demonstrated ability from wide positions (Cavani most so as he plays second fiddle to the dominant Zlatan Ibrahimovic), however, Balotelli has a clear edge when it comes to chance creation (32 in Serie A), dribbling (57), drawing fouls (101) and shot prolificacy (5.1 per match). 

Balotelli attempts a shot once every 15 minutes he was on the field in domestic Italian duty last season and was responsible for 20 goals (14 goals/ six assists), meaning he either scored or set-up a goal every 114 minutes.

Traits such as height, chance creation and utilising the full width of the pitch are ones shared by Giroud, who has been in desperate need of competition. 

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch