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Adam DigbyFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2017

It’s been quite the journey for Andrea Belotti. He was playing in Serie B as recently as 2013/14, then spent the following season watching Paulo Dybala and Franco Vazquez fire Palermo to a comfortable mid-table finish in the top flight.

At the end of that campaign, he was sold to Torino, with La Gazzetta dello Sport (link in Italian) believing the Sicilian club received a fee of just €7.5 million in exchange for the striker.

But as the calendar turned to 2016, even that had begun to look like an expensive outlay—Belotti turned 22 years old with just one goal to his name in his first 16 appearances for the Granata.

Fast-forward another 15 months and the world has been turned upside down by the man known as Il Gallo. He has exploded into life, capturing the attention of fans and clubs across Europe, with people now crowing about the quality of ”The Rooster” at every available opportunity.

In December, Torino rewarded his dramatic impact by signing him to an improved deal. The contract extension tied Belotti to the club until June 2021 and contained a buyout clause set at €100 million, which—per ESPN FC—is only valid for non-Italian clubs.

Suddenly, an average striker who had found the back of the net just 31 times in 116 league appearances was worth a world-record fee, yet the answer as to why was simple. He’d started banging in goals. Lots and lots of goals, and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.

Belotti’s emergence began as he added 11 in the second half of 2016/17 and then carried that form into the current campaign; he’s now sitting on a total of 22 in just 24 appearances that makes him Serie A’s leading scorer.

He was also called up to the Italian national team and scored three times in his first five games, his sudden scoring outburst making him a wanted man. Turin-based newspaper La Stampa (h/t ESPN FC) named Bayern Munich and Chelsea among his potential suitors, but it was Arsenal who seemed to have moved first.

“Yes, we received the offer, but it does not reflect the value of the player,” Torino sporting director Gianluca Petrachi told Sky Italia (h/t Football Italia) when asked about a €65 million bid from the north London club. “Anyway, he is going nowhere for now. We want to enjoy him, then we’ll see what happens.”

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