Arsenal have reportedly abandoned interest in striker Mario Balotelli, with Arsene Wenger personally telling reporters no deal was close.
He was quoted by BeINSports describing the rumours as 'pure invention', however given his adamant denials regarding Julian Draxler in January and later confirmation from Schalke that Arsenal did make an offer, comments should always be taken with a pinch of salt.
It is after all not Arsene Wenger's style to come out publicly and state his case to sign a player. A former student and now expert in economics, he knows this would decrease the Gunners' negotiating power. In this case though, he may be genuine.
Arsenal electing to take a step back is very plausible. Balotelli failed to build on a promising opening game for Italy and saw them eliminated with three points out of a possible nine.
Italian transfer expert Gianluca di Marzio has cited the striker's poor performances as reason for Arsenal dropping their interest.
He stated: "After the World Cup played by Mario Balotelli his value is decidedly fallen, almost collapsed, and all clubs who wanted to see his behavioural improvements will be left disappointed, and will continue to have a lot of doubts about the footballer.
"Knowing Wenger, his technical studies into sphere of a player... I am not sure that Arsenal would be interested in Balotelli."
The striker was substituted at half-time against Uruguay with the scoreline at 0-0, with manager Cesare Prandelli stating he feared his side would be reduced to 10 men if he left Balotelli on.
|Mario Balotelli||vs Uruguay||03||4||45|
|Mario Balotelli||vs Costa Rica||02||4||90|
|Mario Balotelli||vs England||01||0||73|
Balotelli committed as many fouls against Uruguay in just 45 minutes as he had the entire tournament beforehand, not responding well to the physical approach of the South Americans.
The AC Milan striker's value certainly did not jump as the Serie A side may have hoped during the tournament, and his first World Cup will go down as a disappointment.
Against England he looked every bit the polished disciplined striker, but as Luis Suarez showed too yesterday, that mask can only slip too quickly.