Bags Of Talent But What's Next For Free Agent Mario Balotelli?

Bags Of Talent But What's Next For Free Agent Mario Balotelli?
10:45, 16 Jul 2019

As a barman in Naples was reportedly paid €2,000 to simply drive a moped into the sea, it would be no surprise to many to learn that the perpetrator of such a stunt was former Manchester City and Liverpool man Mario Balotelli. 

The striker even posted the video on his own Instagram page, this latest prank just one in a series of many. Yet for all his summer antics, the Italian must soon be concentrating on his career, after Olympique Marseille opted not to renew his contract after the end of last season. 

Balotelli is now a free agent, which begs the question of what next?

Serie A side Parma were in talks with the eccentric star, however a move to the Tardini currently seems to be impossible to arrange. 

“We tried to sign Balotelli and get closer to our respective positions, but we realised the costs are simply not accessible for a club like Parma,” president Pietro Pizarotti told reporters last week. “It’s disappointing, because he is a player we really like, but the negotiations will not continue.

The free agent – who scored eight goals in 12 appearances for Marseille during the second half of last season – could also appear back in the Premier League next season. After the departure of Marko Arnautovic to China, West Ham have been offered a chance to sign Balotelli as they look to reinforce their options in attack. 

Balotelli, now 28, enjoyed his most prolific seasons ever with Nice in 2016/17 and 2017/18, firing in 16 and 24 goals respectively in all competitions. On the surface, it seems like snapping this player up on a free transfer would represent a bargain in any of Europe’s top five leagues, however his temperament and consistency are always going to come into question.  

While the stunt with the bike would seem like a bit off-season fun that went a little too far for any other player, that he chose to do so and then make it public is a little concerning. Such a misdemeanour could sway clubs that had previously been on the fence regarding the option to sign him against the move, leaving the player with less and less options for next season. 

The local police have now decided to press charges against Balotelli for the incident, a decision which may or may not have resulted from just how high-profile it became. However much these social media antics may entertain us, how much do they end up costing him personally?

It was widely regarded that the striker’s success with Nice was down to a quiet life in France with little media attention. If Balotelli moves to London with West Ham, it’s easy to see that the associated scrutiny could ultimately lead to failure. 

Now it’s up to the player to ensure that the same narrative is not re-written. Mario Balotelli has bags of talent, but will his temperament let him down again?