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It may have been protracted and drawn out, but the signing of Mario Balotelli was confirmed by the official site this afternoon after the story gathered pace overnight and then the Italian landed in Manchester this morning to undergo a medical.

It is further evidence of the change in transfer strategy that the club has undergone since the arrival of Robert Mancini, moving away from the established and experienced Premier League player to targeting players largely from the Premier League but who are young and hungry to succeed - ideal to build a growing team upon.

Balotelli was obviously a long time target of Mancini and having finally landed the player, he was quick to build him up:

"We chose Balotelli because he is young. I will speak with him in the coming days. He is an investment that is a guarantee. He is still 20-years-old and his behaviour is of a 20-year-old guy. He still has to grow, just like anyone at his age.

“I think that Mario is one of the best players of his age in Europe and I am very happy to be working with him again. His style of play will suit the Premier League and because he is still so young there is a big chance for him to improve. 

“He is a strong and exciting player and City fans will enjoy watching him.”

 

 

 

Despite the huge outlay this summer, the signing of Balotelli is the one I am most excited about. Not being big on La Liga I can't confess to having seen David Silva or Yaya Toure to any great degree, but Serie A is a different matter.

Having seen Balotelli a number of times he does have all of the tools  to succeed in the Premier League, despite being only nineteen years of age. Strong, possessing plenty of pace and with an excellent shot, his goal record is better than expected.

He can also play anywhere across the forward line - although I suspect the position occupied most recently by Craig Bellamy and Robinho on the left hand side is the most likely one. Balotelli also has an 'edge' to him and given his spat last season with Roma grandee Francesco Totti, he is not likely to be overawed in any way.

There are questions over his temperament (no doubt to be trotted out with abandon over the coming days) but how much of this is petulance and evidence of a trouble maker and how much is a spot of youthful indiscretion will ultimately be revealed. The hope is that away from the atmosphere in Italy where he was not a popular figure amongst opposing fans (much of it racially motivated) he will flourish. A plus is that he is reunited with Roberto Mancini, a manager who clearly has great faith in him and will know best how to handle him.

His signing was completed too late in the day for him to play a part at Tottenham, but I'm sure that he will be ready to go for the home opener against Liverpool.

UPDATE: If you haven't seen it yet, check out the official Mario Balotelli site. Worth it for the intro alone...