Arsenal have reportedly tabled a stunning €30million (£27m) bid for unsettled Inter Milan starlet Mario Balotelli as they look to fill the void left by the injured Robin Van Persie.
Respected Italian daily La Gazzetta Dello Sport claims Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is willing to smash his transfer record in a bid to lure the 19-year-old to the Emirates Stadium in the New Year.
Wenger is known to be a huge admirer of the hugely talented Balotelli and told the Italian press recently: "I am keeping an eye out for Balotelli, a player I like very much. In my view he can become one of the greatest."
Balotelli's future with the Nerazzurri has been shrouded in doubt of late after Mourinho savaged the Italy Under-21 star for his performance against Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Champions League.
"Balotelli? In my opinion he came close to a zero rating," the self-proclaimed 'Special One' had said. "I didn't like how he played."
'Super Mario' was left out of the Inter squad for the clash at home to Fiorentina on Sunday, which they won 1-0 thanks to a late Diego Milito penalty which extended their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points.
Despite netting four goals in 11 appearances this season, Balotelli's attitude is said to be a concern for Mourinho and this, along with the continued racist abuse he receives from a minority opposing fans in Italy, has led to suggestions the Ghanian-born starlet wants to quit the San Siro and try his hand in the Premier League.
A switch to Arsenal would particularly appeal given that it would allow him to work under the guidance of Wenger, who has a proud record of naturing precocious young talent during his time with the Gunners.
With Robin Van Persie expected to be out for the rest of the season, Wenger may see the capture of Balotelli as the last roll of the dice as he looks for his side to claw back an 11 point deficit to Chelsea at the top of the table.