Mario Balotelli Is Not What Arsenal Need

Mario Balotelli Is Not What Arsenal Need

Wikimedia: Piotr Drabik

With the summer transfer window moves getting into gear, everyone is waiting anxiously to see how their team attempts to bolster their squad for the quickly approaching start to the EPL season. Arsene Wenger has made his intentions obvious this summer, showing that he is willing to bring in big names, if the price is right. Wenger has already signed striker Alexis Sanchez, right-back Mathieu Debuchy, and now, goalkeeper David Ospina.

These are all smart moves for the Gunners, considering Debuchy was the replacement for Bacary Sagna at right-back in the French squad during this summer’s World Cup. Also, Sanchez and Ospina are players that know top-level competition, and add depth that Arsenal need at the striker and goalkeeper positions, respectively.

Now, with these signings already complete, where does Mario Balotelli fit in? That’s a hard question to answer, considering Arsenal would seem in more dire need of a defensive midfielder, and now a strong center-back to replace the level of skill and leadership former captain Thomas Vermaelen brought to the squad. With this in mind, it seems that Balotelli would not be a priority at the time.

Also, when you look at Arsenal, they play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. In this system, the Gunners are more dependent on quick ball movement and creative runs, made mostly by their attacking midfielders, to create chances around the box. They need a smart, physical striker to finish the opportunities that are created by their midfield. With the addition of Sanchez, Arsene Wenger now has the likes of Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Joel Campbell, Yaya Sanogo, and Serge Gnabry in attack. Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott have both shown to be competent in the central striking position as well.

Arsenal seem to have a pretty strong attacking contingent, as well as strong, athletic midfielders in Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta, and Jack Wilshire. If Balotelli were to come to North London, it would be hard for Wenger to assure him consistent playing time in the central attacking position with so many proven players returning this year, as well as the addition of Alexis Sanchez, during the transfer window.

Balotelli also seemed quite firm in wanting a multi-million pound per year salary if he were to join the Gunners. This kind of spending would be hard to justify with the number of other strong strikers he has at the squad already, and the small amount of playing time he would realistically be able to offer Balotelli.

With all of this, it would seem more likely of Wenger to look for a top-class center-back, and a defensive minded midfielder. The Gunners could be able to sign a slew of young, talented players in these positions, with Ajax’s Joel Veltman and Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane being good choices at center-back, as well as Bayer Leverkusen’s Lars Bender and Sporting Clube de Portugal’s William Carvalho having the ability to bring smart, defensive mindsets to the Arsenal midfield.

With so much need to strengthen other positions than an already ample central attacking group, Arsene Wenger would be better off adding talented players in center-back and defensive midfield, rather than chasing down and expensive, hot-headed striker in Mario Balotelli.