Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/5/14
Puma wants to facilitate Mario Balotelli’s sensational return to the Premier League this summer, and Arsenal stands to benefit from the sportswear company’s largesse. Should Arsenal decide to make a transfer bid for Balotelli ahead of next season, Puma is willing to help subsidize the Gunners’ approach, Metro reports. “According to reports in Italy, the company wants to help Arsenal finance a deal to bring the former Manchester City striker to the Emirates Stadium,” the report says. “Puma, who also sponsor Balotelli, want two of their key brands together, and could even stump up as much as £15 million [$24.5 million] of any deal to make the transfer happen.” Balotelli has starred for AC Milan since returning to Serie A from Manchester City in January 2013. The Italian striker has scored an impressive 25 goals in 38 games for the Rossoneri, but the team is languishing this season. AC Milan sits 10th in Serie A (Italy’s first division) after 22 games, and a genuine possibility exists that the Italian giants will fail to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League. Balotelli’s good form doesn’t mean that all is well between AC Milan and him. Last month, rumors about a rift between Balotelli and AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi arose. Those reports claimed that Balotelli’s behavior irritated Berlusconi and the former Italy Prime Minister authorized AC Milan directors to sell Balotelli for as little as €25 million (£20.7 million/$34 million). AC Milan and Balotelli immediately refuted the rumors, and Balotelli said that he wouldn’t switch clubs before the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Last month’s Balotelli rumors suggested that Chelsea would be his most likely destination, but Arsenal is now included on the list of potential suitors. The Gunners recently signed a five-year deal with Puma worth £30 million pounds ($50 million) annually, which makes the sportswear company the club’s official uniform manufacturer. Like other companies, Puma would love to see it’s highest-profile players join forces with their highest-profile clubs. Cristiano Ronaldo’s rumored return to Manchester United is a similar case to Balotelli’s, as it would take a heavy dose of sponsor involvement to bring the deal to fruition. The Metro reports says Balotelli’s current price is £40 million ($65.2 million). Puma’s £15 million ($24.5 million) contribution would mean that Arsenal would only need to spend £25 million ($40.8 million) of its current transfer kitty to land Balotelli. Arsenal is reportedly looking to a add a special kind of firepower to its ranks, and the world-class Balotelli fits the bill. Even Arsenal’s notoriously thrifty manager, Arsene Wenger, couldn’t balk at that price … could he? Click here to read about Balotelli’s rumored unhappiness at AC Milan>> Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer or @mkomard, his Facebook page or NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here.Filed under: Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Marcus Kwesi O'Mard, Premier League, Rumors, Soccer, Top Stories

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jerry Jones sets deadline for decision on Tony Romo’s future with Cowboys

Jason Kidd believes Isaiah Thomas is in NBA MVP race

Kyrie Irving takes blame for Cavs’ recent skid: ‘I need to demand more out of myself’

Ichiro Suzuki wants to play until age 50

Minute Maid Park doesn’t look the same without Tal’s Hill

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Six NFL teams have not renewed their daily fantasy deals

A Chicago Bulls and Jimmer Fredette reunion makes sense

Cardinals may look at a veteran to ultimately replace Carson Palmer

Ottawa Senators visit sick teen during road trip to Minnesota

Adrian Peterson works out with Jameis Winston, gets Dirk Koetter’s attention

Report: Martavis Bryant reinstatement ‘imminent’

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

Box Score 3/29: Free hats (Caps fans only)

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

Box Score 3/28: Wilt's last game

Soccer News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Athletes in other sports (or famous professions) who played in the NCAA Tournament

The 'So, is this the last ride for the Dead Man?' quiz

2016 MLB playoff teams that won't make it back this season

The 'Are you mentally prepared for 'One Shining Moment'?' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Serge Ibaka can't connect

Can the Padres' Christian Bethancourt really succeed at pitcher and catcher?

The Raiders will forever belong to Oakland

Best, worst and hard to stomach MLB offseason moves

The Rewind: George Mason's improbable run to the Final Four

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker