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Cesare Prandelli Taking Mario Balotelli to Lazio?

If Cesare Prandelli becomes Lazio's manager, will he take Mario Balotelli with him to the Stadio Olimpico?

Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Mario Balotelli is going to have to find a new club somewhere and somehow this summer. Although Balotelli has been a household name for quite some time, he turns 26 in August. Still young and good enough to have a decent spell of form for a few seasons at the right club, one where a manager or head coach sees him as an asset as opposed to a liability. If Lazio appoint Cesare Prandeli, who is believed to be in direct competition with Simone Inzaghi to be named as Stefano Pioli's permanent successor, Balotelli might have both a club and manager ready to welcome him.

When Stefano Pioli was sacked in early April, Simone Inzaghi was given his first senior managerial position to succeed Pioli. The somewhat colourful Claudio Lotito -- Lazio's president and owner -- is believed to be undecided on picking the man he wants for the long term. Simone may be the younger brother of the more famous Filippo but has close ties with the capital club after spending around a decade there during different spells as a player. Furthermore, he oversaw four wins and three defeats from seven Serie A games in charge when they had managed two wins from their previous ten league games.

Does Lotito go with the promise of Inzaghi or the experience of Prandelli? Igli Tare, Lazio's porting director, will have to think hard before trying to sway the opinion of his paymaster. Prandelli enjoyed five good seasons in charge of Fiorentina before leading the Italian national team, guiding his nation to the final of Euro 2012. A group stage exit in the World Cup followed two years later before a short and unsuccessful spell at Galatasary. Balotelli had a memorable Euro 2012 under Prandelli, but what does the 58-year-old think of the Liverpool striker in 2016?

"He's not difficult to manage at all," Prandelli said, getting in on this transfer malarkey. "That's because he's not a bad lad, nor an uncontrollable footballer. I've always believed that he has huge technical potential, but clearly football is not a priority for him and therefore he's been lacking motivation."

Prandelli seems confident about Balotelli's talents along with how to use them. This will be handy as Lazio are looking for a striker to replace the evergreen and talismanic Miroslav Klose who departs after 5 seasons in Rome. 55 goals in 139 Serie A appearances is impressive considering Klose arrived in Italy at 33 and turns 38 next month. Becoming the club's joint-highest non-Italian goalscorer as a veteran in one's final appearance with a final goal in the final game of the season is another feather in the World Cup winner's dependable headgear.

Could Prandelli and Balotelli be the combination Lazio need? This is a deal that hinges on a managerial appointment, funds in place, leeway in negotiations on both sides, and both salary considerations and concessions to be made. This might seem like a rumour that's unlikely to happen, but when a manager takes a certain liking to a player, be sure that they're keeping tabs. File it away in the one to watch column.

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