Former France international Christophe Dugarry is sceptical over whether Mario Balotelli can rediscover his best form at Nice.
Ex-Inter, Manchester City and AC Milan striker Balotelli ended a nightmare spell at Liverpool by securing a free transfer to the Ligue 1 side on transfer deadline day.
Dugarry, a 1998 World Cup winner who was also something of a mercurial talent, does not expect to see Balotelli back at the level of form he showed in helping City to the 2011-12 Premier League title and Italy into the final of Euro 2012 – comparing him unfavourably with Hatem Ben Afra.
Ben Arfa arrived at Nice last season dogged by a reputation of being difficult off the field, but shone to secure a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain.
“Balotelli? Next to him, Ben Arfa is a choirboy,” Dugarry told RMC.
“[Jean-Pierre] Rivere is an interesting and intelligent president [but] I’m not convinced this is the right choice.
“It was absolutely necessary to [sign] an attacker. [With Balotelli] it’s double or quits.
“You know if the guy returns to his level he will perform. But this kid does not light on all floors (lacks intelligence). I think it’s already too late.”
After signing for Liverpool from Milan two years ago, Balotelli scored one goal in 16 appearances during his solitary Premier League season at Anfield.
He returned to San Siro on loan for 2015-16 but form and fitness problems dogged his progress before Jurgen Klopp informed him he would not feature in Liverpool’s first-team plans this term.
The 26-year-old trained with his new Nice team-mates for the first time on Thursday.