After being the name on everyone’s lips in the summer of 2017, Andrea Belotti’s big money move to the Premier League never materialised and he’s since become somewhat of a forgotten man.
Since his stellar 28 goal season for Torino in the 2016/1, however, things have gone slowly downhill for the club. Belotti was rewarded with permanent captaincy for his loyalty to Torino ahead of the following campaign, but that loyalty has since seen his chance of a big move fade away, while his club now face the prospect of relegation to Serie B.
He’s not quite matched the impressive figures of that season since, but Il Gallo has still struck 10+ league goals in every campaign for the last five seasons, which has proven him to be a consistent finisher despite the lack of quality around him.
With Torino sat in 13th in Serie A, on just 31 points after 28 games played, their captain has had to drop a lot deeper in order to muck in and up the work rate of his side and find chances for himself. This makes his role – scoring – immediately more difficult, hence why his output has dropped.
When in a thriving side however, Belotti has proved that he can find the net with regularity and conviction, when given quality service. It’s this consistency, while going completely under the radar in the depths of Italy’s mid-table, that makes him the perfect target for a number of Premier League sides in this summer’s transfer market.
So, exactly who could benefit from Belotti’s signature in 2020?
The January loan signing of Odion Ighalo was proof – if there wasn’t enough already – that Manchester United are desperate for an out-and-out striker. And not just in a greedy way, but Ric Flair wrestling in TNA for another pay cheque kind of way.
While Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have both enjoyed their most prolific seasons to date so far, the lack of a true striker has cost the Red Devils at times. Injury to Rashford hurt their options going forward at the start of 2020, while Martial – as impressive as he’s been – is still learning how to assert himself as a number nine, and must improve if he wants to keep his spot.
Mason Greenwood has been another bright spark in attack, chipping in with 13 goals in all competitions. Relying on the 18-year-old would be naive, however, and the presence of Belotti would also provide him with more time to learn and develop on the training ground.
While United pulled out of any potential deal in 2017 due to a sky-high asking price, this time round it would be much different. Torino would be obliged to sell their captain for a much more reasonable fee, meaning United could likely snap him up for half of the asking price last time out. He would provide competition for places, strength in numbers and a healthy number of goals for the Red Devils.
Liverpool’s long-standing interest and subsequent defeat in pursuit of Timo Werner has been public knowledge for some time. With the deadly striker now headed for Chelsea this summer instead, it leaves the Reds having to rethink their attacking targets.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic left Liverpool hesitant to spend big on Werner, and likely means they won’t be looking to break the bank in general this summer. However, being the champions of England leaves a huge target on their back, and their biggest mistake going forward would be failing to strengthen their squad.
Belotti would no doubt be a strong addition at Anfield, even if he doesn’t seem to fit the mould on paper. His leadership skills and hard work on and off the ball would be welcome in a close-knit squad, and his strength in the box would provide a different dimension to Liverpool’s attack.
Again, likely being available at a cut-price would also be appealing. The Italian wouldn’t have to worry about chasing the ball deep to create opportunities, and could thrive in a hard-working squad like the one Jurgen Klopp has assembled.
Any potential move from Wolves towards Belotti would be dependant on the future of Raul Jimenez.
The Mexican striker has set Molineux alight since initially arriving on loan in 2017, which has led to interest from a number of sides – including Manchester United. Jimenez has been crucial to Wolves, bagging 41 total goals in 91 appearances thus far under Nuno Espirito Santo.
It’s unlikely that they would line up with both Jimenez and Belotti together, and the Italian wouldn’t be moving to warm the bench, but he could be the man to fill any potential gap left by a Jimenez departure. He’s certainly one to keep at the top of the shopping list, just in case.
Similarly to Wolves, Arsenal moving for Belotti would depend on if they need to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. And if they have any money, of course.
However, the Gabonese striker’s future in north London is filled with uncertainty. Perhaps a fresh start under Mikel Arteta would be cashing in on Aubameyang while it’s possible and replacing him with Belotti.
The Italian would again provide a different form of attack for Arsenal, but signing a consistent goal scorer with a big presence on the pitch could be what the club needs to kick on once more.