Newcastle United Linked With Move To Bring Mario Balotelli Back To The Premier League

Silly season upon us and we have a nice mad transfer story just four days into the window opening.

Newcastle United have been linked with a move to bring back Mario Balotelli back to the Premier League for a third spell in English football.

The enigmatic striker hasn't scored a single goal in 10 games for Nice and there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding his future at the moment - with Patrick Vieira giving him time away from the training ground.

Marseille have been interested in the Italy international for quite some time but fresh reports from Italy, via The Mirror, state that Rafa Benitez is weighing up a move for the 28-year old.

Balotelli, of course, has plenty of history in England. After moving to Manchester City from Inter Milan as a 21-year old, he scored 30 goals in 80 appearances and won the FA Cup and Premier League at the Etihad Stadium.

He returned to these shores a couple of years by joining Liverpool in a £16 million move in 2014 but scored just one Premier League goal in his time on Merseyside and ended up heading back to AC Milan on loan before he got his move to Nice.

In his first two seasons in France, Balotelli helped himself to 33 goals in 51 Ligue One appearances and looked like he was finding his best form.

However, he has not been at the races this season and has angered Vieira on more than one occasion.

After he was substituted in a game against Nimes, Balotelli smashed up a tactics board and then refused to take orders off his manager when asked to pick it up.

"At Nîmes, I was annoyed because I was substituted," Balotelli told Interieur Sport, as per Get Football News.

"I was annoyed because I asked him why I was substituted, and he said it was because he did not believe in me. Then I got annoyed."

Image: PA
Image: PA

Vieira revealed his true feelings on Balotelli back in December.

"When it comes to Mario, I want to answer back, or just slam him up against the wall or leave him hanging by his collar on the coat rack, but I can't, as I'm no longer a player," the former Arsenal captain told L'Équipe.

"I have to think twice before I say anything, because it can have an impact and I risk losing a great player. I don't want to say something I'll regret.

"I am trying to be constructive in my comments to him."

Balotelli's contract with Nice expires in the summer but there is even talk that the deal could get terminated prematurely.

Josh Lawless

Josh is a writer who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.

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