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Kit deal that keeps on giving could land Serie A man for Arsenal

| 05.02.2014

After agreeing a bumper deal with Puma, who’ll produce Arsenal’s gear from next season onwards, the Gunners have been linked with a summer swoop for one of the highest-profile stars on the kit manufacturer’s roster.

The Premier League leaders and 9/2 title third-favourites were linked with a multitude of top strikers during the January transfer window, although former Manchester City maverick and first-choice Italy forward Mario Balotelli was barely mentioned as a possible target.

However, the Puma-sponsored AC Milan man could be set to return to English shores just 18 months after jumping the Etihad ship, if the German cobblers have their way.

According to reports, Puma wish to subsidise an Arsenal bid for Balotelli to the tune of up to £15m in the summer, which could limit the Gunners’ outlay in any potential move for the 23-year-old to £25m.

With the Premier League far outstripping Serie A in marketing potential at present, it’s easy to see why Puma would be in favour of engineering such a transfer, which would ensure much more bang for their considerable buck.

Arsenal’s striking ranks are notoriously under populated, with Nicklas Bendtner, who’s scored two goals in 14 appearances for the north Londoners this term, currently the definitive back-up to main man Olivier Giroud up front.

Arsene Wenger is expected to go back in for Schalke attacking-midfielder Julian Draxler, who the Arsenal chief sees as a striker in the long term, and is thought to be keeping tabs on Diego Costa’s situation at Atletico Madrid.

Balotelli’s past disciplinary problems may dissuade the Frenchman from seeing Puma’s point of view, but the Palermo native undoubtedly brings goals as well as controversy wherever he goes.

Having bagged 20 in 54 Premier League games for City, Balotelli has been even more impressive back in his homeland, with 21 Serie A strikes in just 38 Italian league outings.

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Alex Fortune