AC Milan have confirmed Mario Balotelli has left the club, as his £16 million move to Liverpool draws closer.
News of an agreement between the Reds and Milan broke on Thursday morning from Italy, with English journalists confirming soon after.
£16m fee agreed. Just a case of agreeing personal terms now in terms of Balotelli's move to Anfield #LFC
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) August 21, 2014
A simple statement on AC Milan’s English website on Thursday afternoon reads:
MILAN – Mario Balotelli drove out of Milanello at 13.30 after saying good-bye to his team-mates and the club’s press staff.
Balotelli had earlier told Sky Italia, “This one is my last day as Milan player”, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.
The pace of the developments in Balotelli’s imminent move to Liverpool have been overwhelming, with the striker now expected on Merseyside to complete the deal in the next 24 hours.
Balotelli will become Liverpool’s ninth signing of the summer, taking their total spend to £117 million.
Brendan Rodgers had been looking for a new forward following the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, and attentions turned to Balotelli once a move for Queen’s Park Rangers’ Loic Remy fell through.
Only two weeks ago, Rodgers deterred press from Liverpool’s pursuit of the 24-year-old Italian international, telling the media, “I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool.
“He is a wonderful player, but he is an AC Milan player. I just gave my opinion of him, but doesn’t mean I will be signing him.”
Balotelli’s imminent arrival on Merseyside has been met with mixed reactions, though he is certainly the talk of the town.
The hashtag #whyalwaysme was trending on Twitter in Liverpool during Thursday afternoon.