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Chelsea Boss Rafa Benitez Looks to Make Man City Striker His First Blues Signing

by Christian Bailey

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Benitez Balotelli

Stamford Bridge side line up audacious move to snap up unhappy Etihad Stadium forward.

Check-In to Man City v Chelsea

Newly installed Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez has earmarked a move for Man City striker Mario Balotelli as he looks to boost his attacking options.

The young Italian international has reportedly been on the Chelsea radar for some months and the former Liverpool boss will work with Chelsea technical director Michael Emanelo to tempt the striker into forcing a move away from the Etihad Stadium with the West London side looking to make an audacious move for Balotelli during the January transfer window.

Though Mario Balotelli and Roberto Mancini have a close relationship that spans a number of years from their shared time at Inter Milan, Chelsea may feel they can tempt the 22 year old striker into a move to the capital with the promise of regular first team football.

Balotelli returned from a successful Euro 2012 finals hoping to see an improvement in the amount of playing time he was being handed having made just 14 Premier League starts last term but has made just five starts this season and this has in turn seen a downturn in form which is leading to a struggle to once again get his name on Roberto Mancini’s starting eleven team-sheet.

Roberto Mancini has been strongly linked with interest in further attacking additions including La Liga stars David Villa and Radamel Falcao and as such the Man City boss may be open to a possible sale.

Mancini wasn’t handed as hefty a transfer budget over the summer as he was previously used to and may have to trim his expansive squad ahead of any significant signings and Mario Balotelli is arguably moved into fourth spot in the Man City striking pecking order behind Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko and could therefore be considered an asset worth cashing in on.

Chelsea have had to steadfastly stick with Fernando Torres as their main provider of firepower and though the Spaniard has greatly improved he is still nowhere near justifying the £50m paid for his services and youngsters Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku, now on loan at West Brom, have been given precious little chance to prove themselves.

Therefore Benitez will hope to see Chelsea put in a big money offer for Balotelli to help the Blues secure the type of success that could help to convert his role from interim manager into a more lengthy spell at Stamford Bridge.

Mario Balotelli has scored 29 goals in 70 Man City appearances, a strike record that is perhaps more impressive when you consider that 26 of those appearances came from the bench.

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