Transfer Window: Day 30
- 30 January 2013 08:40
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
Unsurprisingly today’s media-round up is another Super Mario special as the Italian appears to creep ever-closer to the City exit door.
Introspective epitaphs on Balotelli’s career in England are the order of the day, as AC Milan reportedly close in on the 22-year old.
The wider consensus appears to be that while Mario will be missed (especially by the nation’s journalists), the time had come for the Premier League champions to cut the cord.
Oliver Kay gives a flavour of the reaction in today’s Times (£).
“There has been a strange recent phenomenon where the departure of big-name overseas imports from the Premier League is concerned."
...Oliver Kay - The times..
“Whether it has been Cesc Fàbregas, Cristiano Ronaldo or Luka Modric, the soap operas surrounding their departures have been so protracted that there has been a misplaced tendency to bid good riddance to rare talents that have proved hard to replace.
“In the case of Mario Balotelli, though, relief at his departure to AC Milan stems not from a transfer saga, but from weariness at the soap opera surrounding his career in England.”
Former Blues boss Joe Royle is similarly stinging in The Sun, insisting that Mario’s time at City has been a "nightmare".
“I will only remember Balotelli as a great penalty taker,” said Royle.
“He’s got great style with those, he leaves it very late and is a wonderful penalty taker.
“Apart from that, though, I’ve never really understood what all the fuss is about.
“He’s got no work-rate, I’ve never seen a player walk so much as he does on the pitch.”
“With the departure of a £17m striker. City's attacks did lack a telling variation, although the absent ingredient was not Mario Balotelli but Yaya Touré, missed for the first time since his departure for South Africa,” writes Ronay.
“Toure's direct running would have provided an ideal attacking counterpoint to the embroidery of City's midfield as Rangers dropped deep and the pitch grew heavier.”
...Barney Ronay - The Guardian...
Elsewhere, John Cross of The Mirror believes that David Villa is being lined up as a replacement for Mario.
City are set to make a last-ditch attempt to sign Barcelona’s £15m-rated forward Villa, after Arsenal were forced to give up their pursuit of him,” Cross states.
“The Mirror has learned that City have already made an enquiry about Villa, with a view to rushing through a deal before Thursday night’s transfer deadline.”
"This year there should be an avalanche of votes for Pablo Zabaleta. In 39 years of the award, only four defenders have won the most prestigious individual honour in the top flight,” said Ashton.
“He has been outstanding for the Barclays Premier League champions again this year and, at 28, is the ultimate modern-day professional.
"He has the captain’s armband in the absence of Vincent Kompany, wearing it with pride and accepting the role with great dignity.”
...Neil Ashton on Pablo Zabaleta...
We’ll be here at our stations right to the end of the transfer window to bring you news of any incomings or outgoings on mcfc.co.uk.
Don’t forget that it’s not confirmed unless you read it here first.