Newcastle transfer news: Mario Balotelli wanted by Rafa Benitez in sensational move to boost survival hopes

Mario Balotelli could be set for a shock return to the Premier League with Newcastle United keen on recruiting him.

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez is in desperate need of firepower to boost his side’s chances of avoiding relegation and wants the maverick forward to galvanise their survival bid, according to the Mirror.

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Balotelli could be set for a return to the Premier League

After losing 2-0 to Manchester United, Newcastle are just two points above the drop zone in 15th in what is proving to be another difficult season.

Balotelli was sold to Manchester City from Inter – managed by Benitez in 2010 – and scored 30 goals in 80 appearances, winning the FA Cup and Premier League at the Etihad, famously assisting Sergio Aguero’s goal against QPR in stoppage time on the final day of the 2011/12 season.

The 28-year-old spent a season at AC Milan, before signing for Liverpool in a £16 million move in 2014, but he scored just one Premier League goal in his time on Merseyside and ended up back in Milan on loan before moving to Nice in 2016.

So far this campaign, Balotelli is yet to register a single goal for Nice in 10 appearances.

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The striker played 80 times for Manchester City

Nice manager Patrick Vieira has given the striker time away from the club’s training ground due to the uncertainty surrounding his future, with his contract expiring in the summer.

“When it comes to Mario, I want to answer back, or just slam him up against the wall or leave him hanging by his collar on the coat rack, but I can’t, as I’m no longer a player,” the former Arsenal captain said in December.

“I have to think twice before I say anything, because it can have an impact and I risk losing a great player. I don’t want to say something I’ll regret.

“I am trying to be constructive in my comments to him.”

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