Barnsley CEO Dane Murphy has revealed that the Tykes did have conversations with Mario Balotelli over a potential move to Oakwell, but that the Italian has other options which he is assessing instead.
The Tykes have been linked with a surprise swoop for Balotelli who is a free agent after leaving Italian side Brescia, and Barnsley were thought to have held talks with the former Manchester City and Inter Milan forward over the potential for him to switch to the Yorkshire club.
However, the 30-year-old has since been linked with a potential move to Brazilian side Vasco da Gama. The forward though has yet to complete any potential move at this stage meaning he is still available to be signed on a free transfer and it is thought that he has a lot of options on the table to consider.
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Speaking to Barnsley’s official website, Murphy confirmed the Tykes had held conversations with the forward over a potential move to the Tykes given the relationship between him and club’s owners who had him at Nice. However, he also revealed they decided against the move at this stage with the Italian considering other options.
He said: “Mario had played for our owners in Nice. So there was a relationship there that has lasted with Mario, his agent and our ownership group and so there was a mutual interest.
“And so I had a good conversation with his representative but it never really went much further than that. Mario has so many options on the table and he’s still evaluating what’s next and what’s best for him and his career.
“So he said right now wouldn’t be the best time, and so after discussing the parameters of what would make this happen, we agreed that yeah, it’s probably not the best time to do it.”
Signing Balotelli would have been a major coup for the Tykes with the 30-year-old having plenty of class and talent, but the fact he is a free agent having once been amongst the most in-demand forwards in Europe shows how far his career has regressed in recent years.
Barnsley’s owners are one of few people to have seen the best from Balotelli in recent times, with the forward having enjoyed something of a brief renaissance during his spell at Nice. However, since leaving the Ligue 1 side his career has once again stalled and he needs a fresh challenge to get back on track.
The Tykes would have been taking a gamble on the forward that could have paid off or gone very badly, but they will now have to focus on making more stable signings of players they know they can rely on to help them continue their recent progression under Valérien Ismaël.