Torino have certainly been getting much more attention in the UK since England goalkeeper Joe Hart joined the Italian outfit on a season long loan back in August. But it is not only his performances for Il Toro that have made the headlines across the UK and Europe.
23 year old Italian striker Andrea Belotti has been in scintillating form this season, and playing in the centre forward position has elapsed a staggering 22 goals in 24 league games. Elite European clubs are heavily linked and interested in his services even more so after he not only captained his side, but scored a hat-trick against his former club US Palermo in just an 8 minute period to win 3-1. Outscoring the likes of Gonzalo Higuain and Edin Dzeko in the league has certainly raised eyebrows about his potential valuation at such a young age, as well as his €100m buyout clause.
Nicknamed ‘Il Gallo’ (The Rooster), Belotti’s career started at Italian side UC AlbinoLeffe after failing to impress at a trial at Atalanta. In his debut season in 2011-12, he made 8 Serie B appearances and scored 2 goals, whilst scoring 13 goals for AlbinoLeffe Berretti, the youth team, who went on to win the title this season. Relegation to the Italian third year saw Belotti promoted to the first team where he made 31 league appearances and scored 12 goals for his side.
This was enough to convince US Palermo to secure a loan deal with the option to buy Belotti at the start of the 2013-14 season, and it paid off as his 10 goals in 24 appearances helped gain promotion back into the Serie A. His rise the following season in the Serie A took a halt however, as Belotti has playing in the shadow of then rising star, Paulo Dybala. This meant that the majority of his appearances were made from the bench, and therefore he only managed 6 goals in 38 appearances.
A new opportunity arose for Belotti to gain more starts in the team at Torino, in which he signed with at the start of the 2015-16 season for just €7.5m. It was a slow start for Belotti, with the goals drying up in the first half of the season. In fact, 11 of his 12 goals that year came in the second half of the season, and clubs and fans alike started to take notice.
His great form from last season certainly continued and improved further going into this season, getting off the mark very quickly with 5 goals in his first 4 appearances. Many fans are describing him as a traditional, classic English centre forward, amid so much interest from Premier League sides, including both Manchester clubs. He isn’t the tallest player however he is very strong and possess a fantastic aerial threat as well as pace to drag defenders out wide.
After admitting that he is surplus to requirements at Manchester City, Belotti’s teammate Joe Hart is certainly someone Belotti could talk to be be advised and educated about the Premier League if he wishes to initiate a move and test himself at the very top. Arsenal had been rumoured to have had a £56m bid rejected in January, with Torino director Gianluca Petrachi saying “He’s worth more than what the team making the offer has offered”.
Since Torino are likely to finish around mid-table at the end of the season, Belotti can focus on trying to score more goals and try win the golden boot at the end of the season in Italy as well as compete with the likes of Lionel Messi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in Europe’s leading goalscoring charts. It is inevitable that Belotti will be weighing up his options in summer, and I think it will not be that surprising if the buyout clause of €100m is matched by some clubs for a player almost averaging a goal a game this season.
UCFB Football Business & Media Student