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Arsenal should avoid super Mario link-up

There are reports that Puma, who are in partnership with both Mario Balotelli and Arsenal, are willing to donate £15m to help bring the 23-year-old to the Emirates.

The Gunners have been strongly linked with the former Manchester City star forward as they look to strengthen their limited attack.

Current AC Milan player Balotelli made headlines on both the front and back pages in England, but would Arsenal be taking a big risk signing him?

This season in the Serie A, Balotelli’s side are having a woeful time. Although they have picked up form by winning three of their last six, Milan still find themselves down in ninth place and seven points off city rivals Inter for just a Europa League place.

Champions League football next term is almost certainly out of the question for the Italian giants, unless they win the competition this season. They face Atletico Madrid on February 19th and with odds of 14/5 just to win the first leg at home, it is not looking too promising.

You can back Milan at 15/8 to qualify for the quarter finals, and at 66/1 are the 11th favourites to win Europe’s elite competition – behind even like-for-like dramatic domestic league decliners Manchester United (16/1).

Balotelli has enjoyed a decent season personally for the Rossoneri this season, however, scoring 10 in 18 Serie A matches, while in all club competitions he has netted 14 in 24. Last season he managed 12 goals in 13 league games.

Although there is no doubting in the Italian’s ability, his reputation could prove to be an unwanted disturbance in Arsene Wenger’s squad – if he were to sign him.

A particular incident that will stand out to Arsenal fans is the crazy challenge on Alex Song in a 1-0 defeat to the Gunners in April 2012 that ultimately led to him being suspended – and almost ruined City’s chances of winning the Premier League.

Metro’s Jamie Sanderson recently reported that Wenger met Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola, about the possibility of signing him in the summer.

He said: “Wenger met Mino Raiola in London on Monday to discuss the possibility of Balotelli moving to the Emirates.

The negotiations are said to have gone well – and Arsenal are now weighing up slapping in an offer at the end of the season.”

Balotelli has quite often spoken out about his dislike of English culture, but after a recent quote, it seems he does miss some aspects.

“I miss England’s fans, while I do not miss the food, or the weather, or the manner of driving a car,” he said. “But fans of City, yes I miss them. But the AC Milan fans are fantastic too. Most of my memories about Manchester are happy because I enjoyed it there.

“It was not a shock for me to move to England and there is not a big difference between the two clubs.”

It seems that Balotelli is currently disillusioned with life at Milan, and appeared to be in tears when substituted in the recent defeat to Napoli.

Arsenal, who are fourth-favourites to win the league this season at 9/1 will need to bolster their attack in the summer if they are to keep progressing, with Olivier Giroud their only decent centre forward.