The signing of Balotelli in this year’s January transfer window represented much more than the return of an old fan of the club. It represented the completion of what is a conglomerate of the three hottest talents in Serie A at this time, all playing as one beautiful combination of devastating pace, panache, flair and power.
They all started together for the first time against Udinese last weekend and clearly worked as Balotelli grabbed a brace, and they all showed an incredibly good understanding for a strike trio that could have only played together for a solitary week. This game showed a glimpse of a potentially terrifying attack that could potentially be playing together for the next decade. Their combined age is only 60, but they showed experience that belittled their supposedly tender years and this will be a sign of great encouragement to Allegri and a little bit of repayment already on Berlusconi’s £20 million investment.
Tactically they were perfect. The dropping deep of Balotelli dragged defenders out of position as they went with him, which opened up huge tracts of space behind him for the lightning-quick M’Baye Niang and El Shaarawy to exploit. They also showed incredible flexibility in switching positions between them, and this naturally caused a major problem for the Udinese defenders and will doubtless cause many more to many other defenders.
For those of my readers who do not know much about M’Baye Niang, he is a current France Under-21 international, he was signed for a mere £3 million from Caen this summer, where he had forged a strong understanding with his fellow young academy graduate, Lenny Nangis, a very similar player to Stephen El Shaarawy, and this was clearly realised by the AC Milan board and they look to have picked up a bargain in him, in that he is still only 18. His value will have at least doubled since they purchased him. He scarcely played before the turn of the year, but since then, he has featured heavily.
I would argue that they already form the best attacking trident in Italy; although Totti, Lamela and Osvaldo of Roma may disagree, they, Lamela aside, lack youth, especially Totti who recently celebrated his 36th birthday and this, for me, means that the new triad of Ba-El-Ni edges this crown.