With the transfer window now wide open, rumours are a rife at who is moving where and for how much. Focus On is a feature Sport Thought will be carrying out throughout the transfer market as we get to know some of the possible big money movers this summer.
Andrea Belotti has emerged as one of the hottest properties in European football after a blistering season in Serie A with Torino. Belotti notched 26 goals in all-competitions for the Turin based club last season and finished as the third highest scorer in Serie A which has led to intense speculation over his future.
At just 23-years-old, Belotti became the first player to score 24 goals under the age of 24 in Serie A since Andriy Shevchenko in the 1999-2000 season, he also beat Shevchenko’s record of scoring the league’s fastest hattrick which was set in the same season, with Belotti netting his in 7 minutes and 15 seconds during a match against former club Palermo in March.
During the January transfer window, Torino’s President Urbano Cairo claimed that the club had rejected a £56 million offer from Arsenal for Belotti and in the same month the Italian striker signed a new contract with the club.
Belotti’s new contract includes an €100m release clause with Cairo warning potential suitors that he will only be sold if the release clause is activated. Belotti has been strongly linked with Manchester United recently as they search for a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimović, whilst Milan, Arsenal and Chelsea are also said to be interested.
Belotti is an all-round striker, reminiscent of a classic English centre forward. He is tall in height and strong in the shoulders which makes him a powerful aerial target. Belotti however also possesses fair pace which makes him a daunting physical presence when running at opposition defenders, especially in one on one situations.
One of Belotti’s biggest strengths however is holding the ball and bringing the wide men into the game, something which is invaluable in the modern game with defensive and offensive benefits. The Italian won an impressive 42% of all headed duals last season and created 55 chances whilst recording eight assists in Serie A.
Son of a Milan builder, Belotti was installed with a never give up attitude from his father, who was also a coach at first side AlbinoLeffe. Belotti’s desire to succeed stemmed from when he was turned down by Atlanta as a youngster and choosing to take a pay cut when Serie B side Palermo came calling in 2013.
Initially as a loan, Belotti played a starring role in Palermo’s return to Serie A during the 13-14 season, he bagged ten league goals and Palermo opted to sign him on a permanent deal.
During the 2014-15 season, Belotti played mainly as an understudy to Pablo Dybala but still managed to make 38 appearances in all-competitions scoring six goals, including his first brace in a 3-3 draw against Napoli and a last-minute winner against Sassuolo.
The following summer Torino came in for Belotti and bought him for around £6 million. Belotti immediately started as a regular for his new side, and that faith was rewarded for his side, he ended the 2015-16 season as the club’s top scorer with 12 goals.
Belotti’s impressive form for his club was rewarded with a call-up to the Italian national side, his former Torino boss Gian Piero Ventura brought him into the side for a friendly against France at the start of last season, where he made his debut in a 3-1 defeat. Belotti was recalled to the squad for the following October’s round of World Cup Qualification fixtures and he scored his first international goal in a 3-2 defeat to Macedonia. Belotti’s return for Italy has been impressive, scoring three times in just five appearances.
Watch some of Andrea Belotti’s highlights from the 16/17 season here: