Mario Balotelli completed his move to AC Milan today and the move has got plenty of attention. Manchester City will not miss the antics, or indeed the goals, of the Italy international though.
When you consider the amount of problems Balotelli has caused manager Roberto Mancini since arriving in August 2010, it seems fair to say that only a consistent match winning influence would make it all worthwhile. Quite simply –this hasn’t been there. Balotelli had an excellent Euro 2012 for Italy and many expected him to take this into the new season. His return? One Premier League goal.
For someone that cost £24m, this is simply not good enough. He wasn’t handed a starting place too often though, but the fact that Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko are ahead of him in the pecking order is simply another reason to sell – especially at £19m.
The last thing City wanted was an impatient Balotelli on the sidelines. Who knows what he would do next? Given his quotes about the ‘dream move’ to AC Milan, it would have been very interesting to see his reaction to City denying him a return to Italy.
Mancini can now move on with his team’s title challenge. His press conferences will no longer be dominated by Balotelli and the focus can simply be on catching Manchester United.
At 22-years-old, Balotelli still has lots of potential of course. If he puts his mind to it, there is no doubt that he could become one of the most dangerous strikers in World football. City were not in a position to wait around though. Hopefully, the striker can now go from strength to strength at the San Siro. This is the club he supported as a boy and this is where he is determined to succeed as a player.
There are bound to be a few controversial moments along the way though. A headline about Balotelli having a scrap with a team-mate is just as, if not more, likely than a headline about his match winning performances on the pitch.
This is now something Manchester City can now forget about though. The luxury of Balotelli has gone and it really won’t make too much difference to them.
The English media will definitely miss Balotelli and his antics, but Manchester City as a whole will not and they have done extremely well to get such a huge fee for him.
Attention can now turn to winning Premier League matches and retaining their title, something which hasn’t become more or less likely without the influence of Balotelli.
It is finally time to move on and for many – a great sigh of relief can be enjoyed.
Written by Thomas Rooney, editor at Footballtips.com