Mario Balotelli ‘held shock talks with Barnsley’ before the former Manchester City striker and free agent opted against a move to the Championship strugglers
- Mario Balotelli has been a free agent since his contract at Brescia was ripped up
- Balotelli knows the Barnsley hierarchy from when they owned French side Nice
- The 30-year-old held talks with the Championship club opting against a move
Mario Balotelli held shock talks with Barnsley before deciding against a move to the Championship strugglers.
Balotelli’s representatives made contact with Barnsley recently over a possible deal with the striker a free agent since his contract at Brescia was terminated in the summer.
Chien Lee and Paul Conway, co-chairmen at Barnsley, know Balotelli well from his time at Nice where they were part of the hierarchy between 2016 and 2019.
Mario Balotelli held talks with Barnsley before deciding against joining the Championship side
Balotelli has been a free agent since Serie B side Brescia ripped up his contract in the summer
There was interest on both sides in getting a deal done with the understanding that Balotelli would give Barnsley, currently 16th in the Championship, a better chance of avoiding relegation.
But according to The Sun, the longer the discussions went on, Balotelli’s interest in playing in England’s second tier faded.
A move to South Yorkshire would have seen him return to playing in England for the first time since 2015 after departing Liverpool for a loan spell at AC Milan.
Balotelli last played in England in 2015 at Liverpool before leaving to join AC Milan on loan
The 30-year-old was left without a club earlier this year when Brescia – his hometown side – cut him loose after he reportedly missed training in June and July.
Balotelli has been on the lookout for a club ever since with Barnsley being one of the first to show serious interest in signing him.
The striker was pictured earlier this month training with Franciacorta, who play in the Serie D Girone B semi-pro league not far from Brescia.
Balotelli was pictured earlier this month training with Serie D semi-pro side Franciacorta