23-year-old striker Andrea Belotti netted a hat-trick as Torino downed his former club Palermo at home 3-1, further increasing the Italian’s stock, and giving his manager something to laugh about after the match.
When asked about Belotti’s possible departure thanks to his mammoth $106 million release clause, Torino boss Sinisa Mihajlovic laughed it off, joking, “If he continues like this, the president will have to increase the release clause, because it’s starting to look like a bargain.”
Belotti’s triple soared him to the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts for this season, with 22 goals in 24 league matches, including eight goals in his last five games, and 17 in his last 17. Having signed for Torino from Palermo in the summer of 2015 for a mere $8.5 million, the club looks set to blow that figure out of the water, should Belotti leave either this summer or further in the future.
Mihajlovic wasn’t done gushing about his player. “Belotti can become a top player, as he’s got everything it takes to improve further and is still so young as well,” he told Sky Italia. “He is the complete striker, because he has both technique and an excellent work-rate. He scores with his head, his left foot, his right and he never gives up.”
But ultimately, his boss wants to see even more. “It was an extraordinary performance and he fought so hard, the way he always does. He is the Capocannoniere [Serie A goals leader] now, but he mustn’t rest on his laurels, because he can do even better. There are few finishers out there like him. For a start, he missed three penalties this season.”
With Torino in ninth int he Serie A table despite Belotti’s productive campaign, it seems certain that the striker’s name will be mentioned more and more often as the summer approaches and more top teams look to fill a squad hole up front.