Paul Merson has mocked reports linking Rafa Benitez with a January move for Mario Balotelli – sarcastically saying that a player with his ‘fight’ would be ‘perfect’ for a relegation battle..
This comes just a few days after the Mirror suggested he could make a cut-price move to St James’ Park this month.
It remains to be seen if he is actually a target of Rafa’s, but that’s besides the point in some respects. We need quality but must also find a player that works hard and will fit into the manager’s system. As we’ve seen, the likes of Clark and Joselu will get into Rafa’s side over the more talented Mbemba and Mitrovic, so it’s vital that we find the right characters too.
Here’s what Merson had to say live on Sky when asked about the rumours linking Benitez with a move for Balotelli:
“Well who is going to fight harder than him?!”
“He’s perfect for a relegation battle, surely, no?”
As I say, I would be very surprised if ‘Super Mario’ is someone Rafa is genuinely looking at (and surprised if Ashley would pay his likely wage packet), but the fact we need players who can offer both graft and genuine quality in such a difficult window just highlights the challenge Benitez is facing – especially when he’s likely to get very little to spend.
Would you take a chance on someone like Balotelli, or do you feel players of his style would be the last thing needed in our situation?