thumbnail Hello,
Are you watching Wenger? Arsenal target Belotti strikes again to scare Milan

Are you watching Wenger? Arsenal target Belotti strikes again to scare Milan


The Torino forward was recently the subject of a £56m bid from Arsenal and after firing against the Rossoneri in the Coppa Italia, it's clear to see why


As the players came back out of the San Siro tunnel for the second half of Torino's Coppa Italia tie at AC Milan, chants of 'Gallo' could be heard from the travelling fans. 'Gallo' might normally be a strange thing to hear at a football match - it translates to rooster in English - but it happens to be the peculiar nickname of Italy sensation and Torino No.9 Andrea Belotti.

The reason for the chants was Belotti's latest goal. A driving run through the middle by Toro newcomer Juan Iturbe had Milan on the backfoot and Iturbe had laid a reverse ball into the path of Marco Benassi, Belotti had lowered his head and was charging like a bull into the Rossoneri box. Benassi measured a perfect pass into Gallo, who slotted the ball to the right of Gianluigi Donnaruma. It was a textbook counterattacking goal and there is no other player in the Torino ranks that their fans would have liked to see finishing it than Belotti.

He finished with ease with his right foot for his fifth goal with that boot of the season, his 15th overall. What is more impressive is that the other 10 are split equally between the two other weapons in his armoury - five with his left foot and five more with his head. It's why Belotti is already being hailed as the most complete forward in European football.

After that 28th-minute opener, Belotti was visibly hungry for more. A second nearly followed two minutes later only for the ball go out for a corner kick. Belotti is not the type of player to ever be satisfied with just one, fighting for the team from the first whistle to the last. He showed that again in Milan, and not only with his attacking display.

What the 23-year-old isn't given enough credit for - or perhaps it is simply overlooked as a result of his goalscoring - is his hold-up play. As the second half kicked off, Torino came under immense pressure from Milan and Belotti was forced to drop deep and become an outlet for his team-mates, using his incredible strength to shield the ball and demonstrate that the only way to get it off of him would be to go through him.

Torino found themselves 2-1 down by the 68th minute of the game, but Belotti had not given up the chase and gave Donnarumma his most nervous moment. He angled a run from the left across the Milan backline to receive the ball on the right-hand side of the penalty area, but the young goalkeeper was alert enough to close down the angle and make a save.

Six minutes later, from a lofted ball, Gallo took a near-perfect first touch to bring it under his control in the box but fired wide. Another long pass came into him in the 81st minute and though nothing came of it, it was another good example of his sheer strength as Paraguyan defender Gustamo Gomez was thrown into the San Siro turf.

Down to 10 men in the 93rd minute and about to crash out of the cup, Torino had one last chance. Belotti picked up the ball on the left side of the penalty area, moved to the byline and fired it across the face of goal, but no Torino team-mate had made the dash into the six-yard box.

On paper, Torino were never expected to beat Milan. However, with Belotti leading the line, there is a new level of belief in the team that makes them capable of defying the odds. With Gallo, Il Toro are a threat to all Serie A sides and there is no Premier League team that wouldn't be strengthened with that kind of presence at their disposal.

Belotti has brute strength, speed and the ability to use both feet and his head. Whilst it's not possible to say with certainty that he can become one of the greatest centre forwards in the world, there is no doubt that all the qualities needed are there.