Mario Balotelli may be the latest big name footballer to move to the Chinese Super League, as Liverpool look to offload the out of form striker to the Far East.
Currently, on loan at AC Milan, Balotelli has failed to crack the starting XI of the Italian team when fit. Recently, the striker was heavily criticized by manager Sinisa Mihajlovic after a poor two minute outing against Genoa.
Mihajlovic, who has turned around Milan’s form this term, had to be restrained from running on to the pitch to confront the striker. During his press conference after the game, Mihajlovic hinted at the striker’s future being in doubt with the San Siro club.
Balotelli signed for Liverpool in 2014 for £16 million from Milan, the striker scored a mere one goal in the English Premier League despite playing 16 times for the club.
Despite spending time out due to an injured groin this term, Balotelli has fared similarly with the Rossoneri, scoring once in ten matches – eight of which have been substitute appearances.
Balotelli would be just another in a recent list of players exiting Europe for the riches of China. Chinese Super League teams spent more money than the English Premier League during the January transfer window, splashing around $270m on new recruits.
Liverpool transfer target Alex Teixeira has been the most expensive signing, as Jiangsu Suning splashed $54.7m on the midfielder. His signing was an Asian transfer record. Jiangsu also secured the signature of former Chelsea midfielder Ramires.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Manchester United could even be swayed into selling star Wayne Rooney to a Chinese Super League club in the summer, if the price is right. The league’s financial might could influence more stars to pop up in the Far East.
With Balotelli’s current form for AC Milan and parent club Liverpool interested in cutting ties with the striker, the Italian may be one of the next big names to arrive in China.
5 Players to move to China this winter
Paulinho – Guangzhou Evergrande, $14.2m
Gervinho – Hebei China Fortune, $19.7
Demba Ba – Shanghai Shenhua, $14m
Fredy Guarin – Shanghai Shenhua, $14.2m
Jackson Martinez – Guangzhou Evergrande, $44.7m
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