Hopeful news for Arsenal regarding Balotelli, has possible deal just got closer?

Italy Celebrate Balotelli Goal

Arsenal may find the timescale to sign Mario Balotelli has just been sped up.

One game into the World Cup, Arsenal's pursuit of AC Milan striker looked at risk of spinning out of control.

Already the subject of a £25 million enquiry from the Gunners, Balotelli's winner in the opening game against England was a perfect start from striker in ruthless form.

If Balotelli had gone on, to fire Italy through to the latter stages, say the semi-finals, scoring five or six goals - AC Milan would surely have upped his price tag.

Not only that but any pursuit on Arsenal's part would have been delayed - with the striker unlikely to decide on his future until his World Cup participation came to an end.

Well now it has, prematurely, after Italy lost two successive games to bow out at the group stage, with Mario Balotelli failing to add to his goal tally.

The striker is expected to fly back to Italy with the rest of the squad this week, and talks regarding his future will surely speed up a notch.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke earlier in the month of his keenness to get deals done in June and July, while a report in The Express claims new kit sponsors Puma want a deal for Balotelli, who they also represent, tied up before July 10 when the jerseys are unveiled.

The World Cup was an obstacle in the path of the deal, and threatened to alert further competition and increase the striker's price tag had he got close to winning the Golden Boot.

As it is, Uruguay's 1-0 win over Italy and the elimination suffered by Balotelli's boys, couldn't have worked out better for the Gunners, who can now move ahead with their negotiations without further delay and hope to secure the striker at a price which is not over-inflated.

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