Mario Balotelli looks set to become a Liverpool player, after a £16 million price was agreed with AC Milan. But can the Italy forward keep himself in the starting lineup and out of trouble?
As a Liverpool supporter, news that that Liverpool had spoken to AC Milan over a possible loan deal made me optimistic that the player could have a big impact in Liverpool’s league finish.
However, the big issue with Balotelli has always been his temperament; if he feels slighted, or if results begin to waver he will be the first to throw his hands in the air and complain. My scepticism over Balotelli’s potential arrival was only exacerbated by the fact that Liverpool’s last high-profile loan signing Nuri Sahin failed to make his mark at Anfield.
Loans typically happen to offer young players game time – new Liverpool loanee Javier Manquillo stands a much better chance of displacing Glen Johnson than Juanfran at parent club Atletico Madrid.
Additionally, a loan arrangement is usually made if the player is no longer wanted at the club, but no potential buyers are interested in taking him on permanently.
Balotelli is already an international and featured heavily last season as Milan’s top scorer. The Serie A outfit shot down a loan deal, wanting to wash their hands of the enigmatic striker for good, while he still has some value.
Mario Balotelli offers Liverpool three things; Premier League title-winning pedigree, Champions League experience and guaranteed goals.
Our current squad will be new to the Champions League, with Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel standing as the only members of the starting lineup with previous participation in the competition. Experience will be key for Liverpool to advance to the latter stages of the competition. Balotelli offers that.
With AC Milan he has shown that with an average, aging team he can still produce goals and matching winning performances. He scored 14 times in 30 league appearance, and if he were to keep up a similar average of a goal every other game, then £16 million can only be seen as a bargain.
At just 24 years old, Balotelli has 4 league titles under his belt and a runners-up medal for Italy in Euro 2012. Liverpool are getting a recognized striker who will almost surely cause a few headaches for Brendan Rodgers. However, his ability and potential match-winning impact outweighs the negatives by a considerable amount.