Super Mario signs for Liverpool as Reds land £16m Balotelli
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has dipped into the transfer market once again to sign AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli on a long-term contract for an initial fee in the region of £16m.
The Reds, who are 10/1 to win the Premier League title, will become serious contenders once again if they can replace Luis Suarez’s 31 goals from last term.
Balotelli, who played for the Reds’ title rivals Manchester City between 2010 and 2013 before his move to Milan, is 7/4 to be the Merseyside outfit’s top scorer this term. This is one of a number of specials markets Coral have opened in light of his arrival on Merseyside.
“I’m very happy,” said Balotelli on signing. “We’ve been talking about coming here and now I’m happy to be here. Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England and the football is very good here. It’s a great team with young players, and that’s why I came here.”
Italy striker Balotelli scored 30 goals in 80 appearances across all competitions for City, and was instrumental in the winning goal that clinched the Manchester club’s first title for 44 years.
During his time at the Etihad, playing under then-manager Roberto Mancini, Balotelli was competing with Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez to start, and often thee club would play with just one centre forward.
At Liverpool, Rodgers is likely to link Balotelli mostly with Daniel Sturridge, and the two could potentially form a potent partnership. The Reds boss said of his new signing: “There is no doubting Mario’s ability.
“He is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level. He has scored goals in the Premier League, Italy, the Champions League and for his country at international level.
“I believe we have the infrastructure, culture and environment to get the best out of him and help him achieve his true potential. We are a strong group here, committed to hard work and he will benefit from being around it.
“I am looking forward to working with him and helping him learn more, improve and progress as a player. I’m sure the supporters will make him feel very welcome.”
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Balotelli, who will wear his favourite number 45 shirt at Anfield, throughout his career due to his off-field antics. Rodgers was able to get the best out of Suarez, and is perhaps hoping he can hone the Italian to the same effect.
To score over 15 Premier League goals this season Balotelli is 5/2; something that both Suarez and Sturridge both achieved last term and, with the way Liverpool play, this is something that is certainly achievable.
Perhaps his biggest asset that Rodgers values is his Champions League experience, which may serve the Reds well this term. However Balotelli’s first season back in England goes, expect fireworks.