Why Crystal Palace should quickly snap up free agent Mario Balotelli
Back in December 2018, a report from the Sun had claimed that Crystal Palace were interested in signing Mario Balotelli, who was then playing for OGC Nice.
Mario Balotelli, 29, joined French club Marseille on a six-month contract in January after a two-and-a-half-year stay with OGC Nice, which saw him score 43 goals in 73 appearances. He scored eight times in 15 matches but is a free agent following his departure from French club Marseille at the end of last season.
Given the fact that the maverick Italian is a free agent, should Crystal Palace bring the striker back to the Premier League by snapping him up? Without any second thoughts, yes!
Crystal Palace were slow movers in the summer transfer market until the last couple of days. The likes of Gary Cahill, Victor Camarasa and James McCarthy arrived at the club very late in the window. However, it was surprising to see the Eagles fail to bring in a new striker following their highly inconsistent displays in front of goal last season.
Alexander Sorloth has failed to impress and has been shipped out on loan again, while Christian Benteke is no more the force he once was.
The gamble is whether Palace have enough in their current squad to compete for a top-half finish. Roy Hodgson cannot entirely depend again on Wilfried Zaha for a regular supply of goals and assists.
It goes without saying that the Eagles are desperate for a striker and Hodgson shouldn’t hesitate to take a punt on Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli knows the Premier League very well having spent five years with Manchester City and Liverpool. The 29-year-old forward is available on a free transfer and extensive Premier League experience, so any kind of risk involved in signing him would be limited.
The Italy international is a controversial character, but there have been signs over the past two years that he has finally matured as both a footballer and a human being. Unlike most other number nines, he is very good on the ball and can keep hold of it under pressure.
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The ex-Nice and Marseille ace is a clinical striker in and around the box and has an excellent awareness of his teammates’ position, meaning he could potentially combine well with the likes of Zaha and Townsend at Palace.
Balotelli still has plenty of years left ahead of him, and if he manages to channel his best form, he could be a sensational signing for Crystal Palace on a free transfer.