Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has said that Mario Balotelli isn’t an Arsene Wenger type player after reports have linked the former Manchester City forward to the Emirates Stadium.
The forward options have been highlighted as an area where the Gunners need to strengthen this summer in order to provide competition, and relieve the burden on Olivier Giroud, but Smith doubts whether Balotelli fits the bill for the Arsenal manager.
Smith told TalkSport: “He’s someone who commands the headlines and there’s always something going on with him off the field.
“He’s a great player on his day but, for me, he doesn’t have enough of them. I just can’t see him at Arsenal.
“Wenger will be bringing in a striker this summer, hopefully a very good one. There are a few out there at the moment, just look at the likes of [Bayern Munich’s Mario] Mandzukic. But Balotelli? I don’t think so.”
Balotelli played a big role in delivering Manchester City’s first league title in 44 years in 2012 – scoring 13 goals in 23 appearances in that league campaign.
He was one of the bright sparks in a very disappointing season for AC Milan in Serie A – scoring 18 goals in all competitions.
But discipline has been a problem for Balotelli, last season alone he picked up 15 bookings and was sent off on one occasion, whilst his temper sometimes got the better of him at Manchester City.
However, at the age of 23 there is still a young forward there with plenty left to give. He’s a big, powerful striker that can give any back line problems, and is able to bring other players into the game with ease. He would certainly be an upgrade on Yaya Sanogo.
Given his age, under the right guidance there could still be an opportunity to turn him into a ‘great player on his day’ into just a great player.
Whether the Arsenal boss thinks he can, and thinks it is worth the gamble remains to be seen.