Mario Balotelli Held Shock Talks Over Move to Championship Side Barnsley

Max Cooper
Nov 18, 2020, 10:00 AM GMT
Balotelli could be on his way to the English second tier
Balotelli could be on his way to the English second tier | Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Former Manchester City star Mario Balotelli held talks with Championship strugglers Barnsley over a possible free transfer.

The striker has been a free agent since leaving Brescia at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, while he has been training with Serie D side Franciacorta to maintain his fitness with the hope of landing a new deal elsewhere.

And according to The Sun, the 30-year-old was offered to second-tier side Barnsley and was extremely interested in a move back to England.

Balotelli's dream move to Brescia deteriorated rapidly
Balotelli's dream move to Brescia deteriorated rapidly | MB Media/Getty Images

However, it is added that his enthusiasm to play for the Tykes has 'cooled', while he is now considering other options.

BBC reporter Andy Giddings added on Twitter that the forward's agent, the notorious Mino Raiola, spoke to the Yorkshire club but the move has gone no further.

Balotelli has struggled to find a loving home since leaving Milan in 2014, although he did enjoy two successful years in France with Ligue 1 side Nice. However, he left the Eagles midway through his third season, joining rivals Marseille, where he scored eight goals in 15 games.

The former Liverpool man then made a hero's return to Italy, where he joined hometown club Brescia in their quest to avoid relegation during their first season back in Serie A. This dream move quickly turned into a nightmare though, as arguments with controversial owner Massimo Cellino led to a breakdown in their relationship, and the forward began to arrive late and even skip training over the course of the campaign.

Brescia were relegated back to Serie B at the end of a turbulent season, and Balotelli's contract was not extended, meaning he was free to find another willing suitor. He has seemingly struggled to land his next move, with teams unprepared to take a risk on the fiery Italian's unpredictable nature.

Even during his more successful spells at Inter, Man City and Milan, Balotelli's career did not pass without controversy, with managers - often Roberto Mancini - losing their cool with the maverick, but extremely talented striker.

In recent weeks he has also been loosely linked with moves to Besiktas, La Galaxy, Vasco de Gama, and even Egyptian big-spenders Pyramids FC.

Current Italy boss and Balotelli's former coach at Man City Roberto Mancini recently spoke on the striker's current situation, revealing his 'sadness' at the player's fall from grace.

Mancini said, via AS: "I am very sorry to see him in this condition.

"At the age of 30 he should be in full technical football maturity and would have been very useful to the national team. I love him and I hope something good always happens to him."