Mario Balotelli has been linked with a move to English Championship side Watford. Oh yeah, it's transfer deadline day baby!
The Italian striker's nomadic career hit an all-time low over the summer, as after a fall-out with Brescia president Massimo Cellino, he finds himself frozen out at the Serie B side. He is under contract until 2022 (for some reason), and Brescia reportedly wanted to release him back in June, but couldn't afford to pay him off.
If he stands any chance of playing football for the next two seasons then he will likely have to find himself a move away. The problem is, having not played a game since March due to an internally imposed suspension, there is next to no interest in his signature.
There was vague talk of a move to Besiktas while Genoa made an offer, but both of those prospects have cooled. Reports in Italy, which appear to stem from seriebnews.com, now say that Watford could give him a reprieve, suggesting that a move back to England could be on the cards.
The Athletic's Watford writer Adam Leventhal has given the report some credence, but notes that there is 'nothing definitive' to suggest a deadline day move is on. That's no huge surprise, given the source doesn't look great and the report itself is pretty wishy-washy.
The original report traces interest from Watford all the way back to 2015, when Balotelli eventually joined AC Milan on loan from Liverpool. Even then, however, it was not explicitly claimed that the Hornets were interested - just that Mino Raiola, Balotelli's agent, sounded them out about a potential move.
It's noted that Watford may lose Ignacio Pussetto before the window closes and have already shipped Roberto Pereyra off to Udinese, and that Balotelli 'could' be drafted in as a last minute reinforcement. Whether Watford, having to cut their cloth to suit their new Championship status, could afford his salary, is another matter. And that's before we get into all the other risks involved with signing Balotelli.
Still, the prospect of Balotelli lining up against Wayne Rooney in the English second tier, live on TV next Friday, is an enticing prospect.