With AC Milan’s interest in signing Mario Balotelli on a permanent deal uncertain, Liverpool are said to be desperately searching for a buyer this summer.
Balotelli has endured a muted spell on loan with Milan, finding himself behind former Reds target Carlos Bacca in the pecking order in attack, as well as struggling to find fitness after a number of injuries.
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani recently admitted that Balotelli “convince us to keep him here,” explaining that “based on what he’s done so far, he doesn’t deserve to stay here.”
This will be a big blow to the Italy striker, who is unlikely to be welcomed back to Merseyside by new Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp favours hardworking, dynamic forwards, with the rise of Divock Origi a clear example of this, and with Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino to call upon, too, Balotelli would struggle to break into his starting selection.
For Liverpool, Milan’s standing could prove problematic, and according to the Mail, they are “desperate to attract interest” in order to shift Balotelli’s £90,000-a-week wage.
Milan are reported to be paying a significant portion of the 25-year-old’s wages this season at £70,000 per week, but if Liverpool are forced to cover Balotelli’s full pay packet in 2016/17, their finances will take a hit.
It is even mooted that the Reds could offer Balotelli a severance package, though this would likely be worth in the region of £4.5 million.
This would clearly be the ideal outcome for the Reds, but whether Balotelli would be willing to make the move to China, when he would prefer to stay at the San Siro, remains to be seen.
Liverpool’s gamble in signing Balotelli in 2014 failed to pay off, despite a moderate campaign under Brendan Rodgers in 2014/15.
Unfortunately, this now leaves a club looking to move forward under Klopp having to scrap for a solution, and it is unlikely they will make a similar mistake in the transfer market this summer.