Mario Balotelli is one of the most gifted strikers on the planet. Capable of truly awesome displays, the AC Milan striker can carry a team with his prolific goal scoring. He did just that for the Rossoneri last season as the Italian national’s goals were one of the main reasons that Milan was able to qualify for the Champions League.
After arriving from Manchester City mid-season, Balotelli led a struggling Milan team up the table and into third place at season’s end. This saved Milan the humiliation of missing the Champions League and all the financial benefits that it brings.
The Milanese giants currently sit at an uninspiring 11th in Serie A with 45points. Ahead of them in the table are the likes of Torino and Hellas Verona, and just below them are Sampdoria. Last term Sampdoria finished 14th, Torino 16th and Verona was in Serie B. Times are tough in Milan. Adding insult to injury, the club is on their second coach of the season and was unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League by a ruthless Atletico Madrid.
AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly grown tired of Balotelli’s antics and could be looking to sell his star striker. While players like Stephan El Shaarawy and Riccardo Montolivo have reportedly drawn interest in the transfer market, Balotelli represents the only commodity on the roster who could bring back a fee significant enough to fund multiple transactions to best improve the team.
Here are the pros and cons of AC Milan selling Balotelli:
Balotelli isn’t going to draw Gareth Bale money. He may be talented, but his mercurial tendencies don’t necessarily paint him as a solid investment. In the right environment, he can thrive (see Italian National team set up); in the wrong one, he can struggle and be a distraction (see Manchester City).
A sale of the Italy national would give Milan a cash boost to help compensate for missing out on the Champions League next season. That cash would be vital to rebuilding the squad as Milan might as well be a Swiss dairy product with all the holes they have. Central defense is a big need with a group consisting of the likes of Daniele Bonera, Philippe Mexes and Cristian Zapata not cutting it. The team also needs a defensive midfielder to play alongside Montolivo as Michael Essien, Nigel de Jong and Sulley Muntari are not of the necessary quality.
An extra creative presence in attack certainly couldn’t hurt. Keisuke Honda was a smart signing, but Kaka is on the downward slope of his career. Montolivo can also provide creative play from a deeper position, but outside of that the squad is lacking in this department. Another creative attacking option would be a prudent purchase.
With a potential sale of Balotelli, the team would also need a direct replacement. Giampaolo Pazzini, Robinho and Alessandro Matri won’t cut it. At least not where Milan aspires to be. Pazzini is a good finisher, but he’ll need help.
Selling Balotelli could prompt Milan to re-evaluate their squad and overhaul the entire team. If Milan keeps only players who have bright futures at the club (Mattia De Sciglio, Gabriel) or who are vital to the team (Montolivo), they could sell enough players for it to be deemed a “fire sale.” Selling players like Muntari, Zapata, Matri and Andrea Poli, among others, along with Balotelli would give the Rossoneri the chance to remake the squad with an eye towards challenging for the Scudetto in 2014/2015.
Loss of Goals
Mario Balotelli scores goals. From the penalty spot or from majestic free kicks, he scores goals. He’s likely the only reason Milan made it into the Champions League this year, and he’s a big reason why they’re as a high up the table as they are. Imagining a current Milan side without the mercurial striker brings one phrase to mind: near-awful.
Balotelli has scored some wonderful goals, but he has also scored some very important ones. The former Inter Milan front man put in the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Bologna. He also netted a similar decider in a 1-0 triumph of Hellas Verona. In addition to winning games, he also saved points for his team as he bagged a brace to earn a point against Livorno while also scoring at the death to salvage a draw against Torino. For all intents and purposes we’ll throw in his assist to Kaka that gave the squad a tie at home versus Lazio and you have nine points directly or indirectly coming from Balotelli. Take those away and the team is six points off the drop zone. It’s not entirely fair to say that Milan would still have scored without Balotelli, but we’re talking about his importance here. Plus given Milan’s struggles it’s completely plausible, even believable, to say that they wouldn’t have scored in all of these games if they didn’t have their star striker.
What do you think? Should Milan look to cash in on Mario Balotelli? Could they succeed without their star striker?
Born and raised in the Seattle area, Ben Rosener is an avid Seahawks, Sonics, Detroit Tigers and Juventus FC fan. He is a high school senior who is also the editor and founder of http://www.kingdomeofseattlesports.com/ and http://knowhitter.com/. Ben loves the city of Seattle and will cover the city’s sports teams throughout his professional life. In addition to loving Seattle and its teams, Ben also is a staunch supporter of Adam Silver, or for that matter, anyone who isn’t David Stern running the NBA. He doesn’t always refer to himself in the third person.