In the January transfer market, several players were linked with making a move to Arsenal but top on the list was a gem from Seria A.
Andrea Belotti certainly caught the eyes of the Arsenal scout watching him play against Fiorentina on Monday night with a brace and a missed penalty.
Arsenal have been linked with a move for the forward for a while now, but with a hefty price tag, could there really be anything to the rumours?
Well, he’s the joint highest scorer in Serie A this season with 19 and he’s almost seven years younger than the two players he’s sharing that title with (Edin Dzeko and Gonzalo Higuain). £86m is a bit misleading, though. That’s his release clause in the contract he signed back in 2015 which runs until 2021.
Those 19 goals have come in just 23 games and he’s also got four assists as well. His minutes-per-goal rate is only slightly worse than Higuain’s (105 v 103) but he’s got one more assist than the Argentine who is valued at £63.75m despite being almost 30. Mauro Icardi, whom many Arsenal fans would be happy to see arrive at Arsenal at a cost of £80m has 16 goals (but eight assists).
You also have to remember that he’s doing all this while playing for an average Torino side who are in ninth place in Serie A. At 23, he’s not even close to his peak yet.
Give me his strengths and weaknesses
He’s a clinical finisher with his feet, and his head, and he works hard defensively too. He doesn’t really have any weaknesses, unless you count the number of fouls he gives away because he loves to tackle so much.
And I don’t even think I’ve mentioned his speed. Zoooooooom.
So, back to that £86m…is that really what he will cost?
Well, maybe. As I said, that’s his release clause so it depends on what offers are made and how much Torino feel that somebody will meet the €100m option. Given the money in football and the shortage of deadly finishers, they have reason to be optimistic. £50m has also been mentioned, but if you were Torino, what would you do?
What if he’s just a one-season wonder?
It doesn’t seem likely.
In his first season with Torino, and in the top flight after an €8.4m move from Palermo, Belotti scored 12 and assisted five in 35 Serie A games. He’s hit double figures for goals every season, bar one, since he was 18.