Liverpool has secured a £16million deal to sign striker Mario Balotelli, the striker will sign a five-year contract with the English club.
The player’s agent, Mino Raiola, flew to England last night to negotiate the contract with last season’s Premier League runners-up.
During his last training session with the club, Balotelli informed teammates that it was to be his “last day in Milan.”
An announcement from both clubs is imminent.
The surprise move for the controversial Italian forward will raise eyebrows with some around the soccer world. But it appears that Brendan Rodgers still has concerns over his club’s ability to score regularly following the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
Rodgers has been looking for an additional striker to play alongside Daniel Sturridge in recent weeks. Liverpool had expressed an interest in AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and former Chelsea goalscorer Samuel Eto’o, but the French club believe their player’s future lies in Madrid. Eto’o would have been a stop-gap signing because of his age.
Despite recently insisting that he had “no interest” in Balotelli and holding reservations about the forward’s attitude and character, Rodgers must be comfortable with what he has learned about the former Manchester City player; enough so that he thinks the player’s addition will not disrupt what he has built at Anfield over the past few seasons.
Balotelli’s three seasons with Manchester City were blighted by a number of infamous events, most notably his training ground dust-up with former manager Roberto Mancini. The Italy international also clashed with his teammates and was involved in some head scratching off-the-field incidents. He was accused of throwing a dart at a youth-team player and set off fireworks in his own bathroom.
The 24-year-old started his professional football career with the Italian side Lumezzane in 2001. Shortly after his debut with the first team, Balotelli had an unsuccessful trial with Barcelona. He would later sign for Inter Milan.
It was Roberto Mancini who introduced the 6’2″ striker to the club’s first team, but when the Italian boss left his position at Inter, Balotelli’s discipline began to wane.
The player clashed with new manager Jose Mourinho, who at one point branded Balotelli “unmanageable”. The Portuguese boss suspended the striker in January 2009 after a number of disciplinary issues.
Balotelli joined Manchester City in August 2010 and would end up making 54 appearances while scoring 20 goals with the Premier League club. Despite his enigmatic and unpredictable performances (and off-the-field activities), the striker was a key figure during the club’s Premier League title winning season of 2011-12.
In January 2013, Balotelli signed a four-and-a-half year deal with AC Milan. The hope being that a return to Italy would be just what the player needed. Since then, the striker has made 43 appearances while scoring 26 goals and was named to the Serie A Team of the Year.
“Super Mario” has also been a member of the Italian national team senior squad since 2010. Since his introduction to the first team, he has made 33 appearances and scored 13 times for the Azzurri.