Back in January Everton found themselves linked with bringing Italian maverick Mario Balotelli back to the Premier League. It was reported by CalcioMercato in Italy that Everton was one of several teams interested in signing Balotelli this summer.
Of course, a move for Balotelli would also have meant a return to Merseyside, where the controversial striker spent two extremely unsuccessful seasons with Liverpool.
It was after that spell that the now 27-year-old begun to turn things around. He took the step of heading to France, joining ambitious Nice. Since then he has been in fine form, scoring 39 goals in 61 appearances since heading to the French Riviera.
His contract in the South of France expires this summer and plenty of teams have been linked with his signature. An Everton move, as much as striking reinforcements would be welcome, would still come as something as a shock considering his controversial past in English football.
But reports this week perhaps highlight why this deal is more likely now than it has ever been.
According to reports, Everton are trying to put an arrangement together with Italian agent Mino Raiola. It has been reported by The Mirror that Everton chairman Farhad Moshiri is looking to shake things up at Goodison Park this summer. Steve Walsh looks set to be replaced by PSV supremo Marcel Brands as director of football and Sam Allardyce will be replaced as manager. The report then claims Raiola will also be a part of the recruitment process at Everton.
One of Raiola’s star clients is of course Balotelli.
He has often been the man defending the Italian when he has had his struggles in the past and is perhaps his number one fan.
The links to Balotelli in the winter were perhaps taken with a pinch of salt. However, with Raiola now seemingly on board, Balotelli scoring goals for fun and Everton in need of a new striker, signing the Italian on a free transfer appears to make some sense.
If he can then help Everton bridge the gap to his old club and local rivals Liverpool, that would be an extra bonus to the move.