Liverpool to lure Mario Balotelli back to the Premier League
Liverpool, 10/1 to win the Premier league, could be set to bolster their attacking options with former Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli.
According to reports, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers is keen to replace one controversial star striker with another, following Luis Suarez’s Barcelona exit.
Balotelli has long been rumoured to be facing the axe at current club AC Milan, with a return to the Premier League mooted the most likely outcome.
Despite being linked heavily with Arsenal, Arsene Wenger recently rubbished the possibility of a move for the fiery forward, stating: “No. No, that’s pure invention. We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on internet or is in newspapers, it’s not true.”
The door is now open for Liverpool to make enquiries, after the Merseyside giants scrapped transfer plans for QPR star Loic Remy. The French forward reportedly failed a medical, forcing the Reds to cancel an £8.5m deal.
Rodgers has since confirmed the club are still looking to supplement their options in offence, despite the transfers of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Lazar Markovic and Divock Origi – who will be loaned back to his former side Lille.
Now it appears Balotelli could be the marquee signing Liverpool fans have been waiting for, after the sale of Suarez left them with £75m to splash.
Ex-Inter Milan star Balotelli netted 18 times 41 outings for AC Milan last term, and reminded English fans of his ability when he scored the winner that saw Italy defeat the Three Lions at the World Cup.
Brilliant Balotelli could potentially develop a potent partnership with Premier League poacher Daniel Sturridge, but the England striker would likely be the Italian’s foil, with the Azzurri attacker taking over the mantle of main man.
As well as goals, boisterous Balotelli would also likely replace Suarez’s ability of attracting controversy, both on and off the field. The mercurial forward entertained and exasperated fans during his stint with City, but still managed to score 30 goals in 80 appearances for the Sky Blues.
Speaking before Liverpool’s pre-season friendly clash, Rodgers fuelled transfer rumours by admitting: “Balotelli is a big talent, he’s got all the qualities. If his focus is right, his concentration is right, then he can play for any team in the world.”
At still just 23 years of age, well-travelled Balotelli could find his home with a side based around youth and potential and, perhaps most importantly, revel in the limelight of being the top attraction. Rodgers’ experience of handling Suarez, as well as the media circus surrounding his former charge, could also see the sensational striker settle in easily at Anfield.
Balotelli has already played at the highest level, having represented his country in the World Cup and played a part in Inter’s 2010 Champions League-winning squad, meaning the forward would bring plenty of experience, as well as explosiveness, to Liverpool.
Rodgers has already recruited seven summer signings, and is apparently close to snapping up Spanish defender Alberto Moreno, as his side seek to reinforce ahead of their Champions League adventure, with Liverpool 20/1 to lift the trophy.