Wenger to hold Balotelli talks

The Frenchman is set to meet with the striker’s agent, Mino Raiola, on Saturday to discuss a deal to bring the Italy international back to the Premier League

By Paul Clennam

Arsene Wenger will meet with Mario Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola on Saturday as Arsenal close in on the €31 million signing of the Italy striker, Goal understands.

Wenger is currently in Brazil working as a pundit for French TV and will hold talks with Raiola in an attempt to broker the Gunnders’ first major deal of the summer.

Having seen Bacary Sagna leave on a free transfer to Manchester City and resisted the temptation to activate the buyback clause in Cesc Fabregas’ Barcelona contract, Wenger is now primed to make use of the €122 million warchest it was revealed he would have at his disposal this summer.

Wenger is ready to spend up to €31m on the 25-year-old former Manchester City striker, who has scored 28 goals in 51 appearances for AC Milan since returning to Serie A in January 2013.

The Gunners boss is understood to be in the market for a marquee striker again this summer after missing out on the likes of Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain 12 months ago, leaving Olivier Giroud as the club’s only recognised senior centre-forward.

Raiola revealed earlier on Tuesday that “anything is possible” regarding the possibility of Balotelli signing for Arsenal during the close season.

“Arsenal are a fantastic club,” he told Sky Sports when asked about the report.

“Only eight or 10 clubs in the world can afford Mario Balotelli – like all premium players, and he is one of the greatest.

“[Will the move happen?] Anything is possible.”

Balotelli was on the scoresheet for his country against England in Manaus, netting the winner as the Azzurri got off to a strong start in Group D.

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