Forget the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski, there’s a new man making a name for himself across Europe’s big five leagues this season – young Italian Andrea Belotti.
Belotti, who has been playing alongside Manchester City’s Joe Hart for Serie A side Torino this year, has made a huge impression so far this season with scintillating individual performances, causing a few of Europe’s bigger sides to turn their heads; not least Premier League sides Arsenal and Chelsea.
Despite Arsenal being heavily linked with the 23-year-old forward over the recent transfer windows, The Sun reported that the Italian club rejected an offer back in January from the Gunners.
Speaking about Arsenal’s offer, Torino’s sporting director Gianluca Petrachi said:
“Yes, we received the offer [from Arsenal] but it does not reflect the value of the player. Anyway, he is going nowhere for now. We want to enjoy him, then we’ll see what happens.
“We intend to keep Belotti and president Urban Cairo signed this important buy-out clause. I think he’s worth more than they have offered.”
Although Arsene Wenger’s side failed in their efforts, London rivals Chelsea have reportedly taken the lead in the race to sign the Italian striker ahead of their Champions League return next season.
Italian news outlet Tuttomercato reported last week that, during Belotti’s two-goal heroics in Torino’s 2-2 draw with Fiorentina, Chelsea had sent scouts to watch him ahead of a summer move.
It’s likely that Chelsea will have to meet Torino’s buy-out clause of £86 million to acquire Belotti, however, with Torino president Urban Cairo allegedly reluctant to let his forward leave.
But for a reported cost of £86 million – just less than Paul Pogba’s price – what’s all the fuss about?
Belotti’s record in Serie A speaks for itself this campaign, scoring his 20th, 21st and 22nd goals of the season during a record 8-minute hat-trick on Sunday afternoon against his old team Palermo, the fastest hat-trick in the Italian first division since ex-Chelsea man Andriy Shevchenko’s back in 2000 during his time at AC Milan.
? Fastest #SerieA hat-trick since 2000
? Top scorer in the league with 22
Andrea Belotti is a serious talent. ? https://t.co/DheEpiHVm3
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) March 5, 2017
This trio on Sunday made Belotti the first man to reach 20 goals in Serie A this season – quicker than the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Edin Dzeko – in just 24 league appearances so far.
Belotti is no one-trick pony either, and the potential that he’s shown since his arrival at Torino has increased monumentally of late. His natural instinct to be in the right place inside the penalty area is unnervingly good, and the Torino striker is also as good with his left foot as he is with his right; of his 22 goals this season, eight have come from his head, nine from his right foot and five with his left, and only Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can rival scoring five goals with each.
The 23-year-old has also transferred his club form on to the international stage in recent times, scoring three times in his first five appearances after making his debut for Italy last year.
Belotti isn’t the quickest striker in the world, but he would bring an awful amount of composure to the Premier League – and with the potential of having Eden Hazard, Pedro and Willian behind him in midfield, his ability to exploit gaps in defences would be massively capitalised on at Stamford Bridge.
Plus, not only this, but he’s a huge team-player and works tirelessly for his side. On top of his impressive goal-scoring record, Belotti has created 41 chances for his teammates this season as well as recorded 51 victories from aerial duels – it just shows an admirable work-rate that would almost certainly bode well under fellow Italian Antonio Conte’s leadership.
Despite playing for a Torino side that struggles with consistency Belotti has been an unblinking shining light this season, and if Chelsea can meet the financial demands and bring in the promising young striker to Stamford Bridge over summer they have a true chance of challenging for European silverware.
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