FIFA agent: Arsenal and West Ham linked striker 'superior' to Liverpool star

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Is Fiorentina’s Khouma Babacar is on a higher level than Liverpool star Mario Balotelli?

Mario Balotelli can’t seem to catch a break at the moment, with the start of his Liverpool tenure not exactly going as planned.

The 24-year-old has struck just a single goal after leaving AC Milan for Anfield in the summer in a £16 million move and has lost his place in the Italy set-up to boot.

Back in the peninsula another young talent, Fiorentina’s Khouma Babacar, is enjoying himself of late with fellow Viola strikers Mario Gomez and Giuseppe Rossi injured.

The 21-year-old Senegal native scored a stunning strike against Inter last weekend and also picked up an assist, having notched his first goal of the season opposite Torino the week before.

Babacar was a sensation last term in Serie B with 20 goals for Modena and appears to be picking up where he left off with fearsome duo Gomez and Rossi on the treatment table.

Such is the Fiorentina man’s talent that he was linked with moves to Arsenal and West Ham last autumn, expressing a personal fondness for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger when asked about interest from Premier League clubs.

But Vincenzo Montella’s side chose to keep the burgeoning star in Italy, and it seems that decision is paying dividends at the Artemio Franchi at this point in time.

And FIFA Agent Antonio Caliendo has now unequivocally stated that Babacar is of a higher grade than the struggling Balotelli.

Caliendo told Tutto Mercato Web: “I told him to remember that in terms of quality he is without doubt superior to Balotelli.

“I saw a unique potential in him aged 16, as he has something extraordinary and with the ball at his feet can keep an eye on everything.

“The more he goes forward, the more you will see that I am right.”

This contention of Caliendo’s certainly gives Babacar plenty to live up to. Despite all his controversies, Balotelli had already won three Serie A titles, the Champions League and the Premier League by Babacar’s age.

The Fiorentina man by contrast has three top flight goals to his name in his career and despite his billing as one for the future, still has much to prove.

Caliendo is without doubt under the impression that Babacar will come good and even surpass the Liverpool man in time, though this of course remains to be seen.

Perhaps the likes of Arsenal will one day be back in for the Senegalese should he continue to prosper – but for now, proving he can perform consistently at the highest level should be the primary focus for Babacar, who is still in the formative stage of his career.

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