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Arsenal Close In On £20m Inter Milan Teenage Sensation Balotelli

Wenger continues to pursue talented young Italian.

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Sports News - October 03, 2008

The agent of Inter Milan striker Mario Balotelli has refused to comment on reports linking the player with a move to Arsenal.
The 19-year-old has netted 12 times in 40 Serie A outings since arriving from Lumezzane in 2007, but has been omitted by Nerazzurri chief Jose Mourinho on more than one occasion in the past for displaying both a poor attitude and questionable temperament.
The forward was recently dismissed in the Champions League clash with Rubin Kazan, and saw red for the Italian U21s during the European Championships in Sweden this summer for retaliating to a challenge from the hosts’ Pontus Wernbloom.
Despite these blots on his copybook, Gunners’ boss Arsene Wenger revealed his admiration for the forward last month, tipping him to excel in Europe, while West Ham were also linked with the player during the close-season.
And, according to The Sun, scouts for the Emirates Stadium side were in Italy last week to watch Balotelli in action as the San Siro outfit thumped Genoa 5-0.
Balotelli could be available for at least a loan move in the New Year, with Diego Milito, Samuel Eto’o, David Suazo and Mario Arnautovic all vying for first-team places up-front at Inter.
However, the player’s agent and brother Corrado Balotelli refused to be drawn on the subject.(Four Four Two)

The relationship between Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho and teenager striker Mario Balotelli can best be described as a tense one as the pair are continually reported to not see eye to eye and the Italian Under 21 international feels he should be getting more of a run out but obviously given the level of success he is seeing from his Serie A champions, can not so easily find room in the team for the striker.

Arsenal have been scouting the 19 year old for some time and appear ready to strike if the two continue to be at loggerheads. Wenger may see Mario as the next big thing and a player he feels he could bring along nicely and build a strike force around.

Mourinho has also taken to occasionally playing Balotelli on the flank which is a position that doesn’t appear to suit the lanky forward who has good touch and lightning pace and when he is picked to play in such a role he invariably appears to get annoyed and tends to offer little to the attack. As an out and out front man he could become a very feared opponent and he has the ability to in time become a top notch attacker but he may feel that he will struggle to grow at the San Siro and may well actively push for a move to a club like Arsenal who are always keen on letting youngsters get regular starts.


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