Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Should Stay Away from Mario Balotelli

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2014

Italy forward Mario Balotelli attends a training session at the Coverciano center, near Florence, Italy, Monday, June 2, 2014. Italy opens its World Cup campaign against England in Group D on June 14 then faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay on June 24. The Azzurri play Luxembourg in Perugia on Wednesday then fly out to Brazil a day later. (AP Photo/Fabrizio Giovannozzi)
Fabrizio Giovannozzi/Associated Press

Football's favourite bad boy, Mario Balotelli, could be on his way back to the Premier League. Liverpool, though, would be wise not to get involved with the controversial AC Milan striker.

The Italian international is reportedly fed-up with frequent racist chants heard around Serie A stadiums and Milan will not stop the player from leaving, setting a £20 million price tag according to The Daily Express' Ben Jefferson:

Milan are looking to make major changes this summer after missing out on European football next season and finishing nearly 50 points behind champions Juventus.

And Inzaghi looks likely to be tasked with overhauling the Milan squad - with Balotelli seemingly to be the first player sacrificed. While Inzaghi is not thought to be opposed to keeping Balotelli, he will also not block the player's departure. Indeed, Balotelli's agent Mino Raiola is reportedly already trying to find a new club for his client.

Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have all been linked with a move to bring the temperamental striker back to England, with Tottenham also thought to harbour an interest in the 23-year-old.

Balotelli is one of the sport's most polarising figures, capable of producing a moment of brilliance on the pitch and completely self-destructing just minutes later.

His move to Milan during the winter of 2013 was supposed to help the 23-year-old following a rocky stay with Manchester City, but as so often has been the case with Balotelli, a promising start with the Rossoneri soon turned into yet more turmoil.

The 2013-14 season saw the Italy international score 16 goals in 38 matches, per, yet more was expected from the powerful forward.

While the club struggled as a whole, Balotelli did very little to help the people around him. He appeared to grow disinterested with the club's fortunes as the season wore on, and he was often seen sulking on the bench instead of trying to fire up his teammates.

It's the same pattern that saw the player fall-out with Jose Mourinho at Internazionale and mirrors the controversies which overshadowed his time in Manchester.

Balotelli is a phenomenal talent, but he needs a strong, veteran dressing room to help him remain focused on just football. He always starts his new projects with almost child-like enthusiasm, but loses interest as soon as the going gets rough.

It's why his time with the Italian national team has been relatively successful, compared to what he has done at the club level. The likes of Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli don't tolerate shenanigans and they keep younger players in line from the very first day of training camp.

Those camps usually don't last very long and once the Azzurri have done their duty—they disband. There's no time for Balotelli to act out, and even if he tries, there's numerous veteran stars who will make sure things don't get out of hand.

This is when Balotelli does his best work, as shared by Azzurri:

Brendan Rodgers is a great manager, and the work he has done with Luis Suarez has been phenomenal, but Super Mario is a completely different matter. Controversy follows him wherever he goes, and so does the media.

Liverpool field a strong attacking duo in Suarez and Daniel Sturridge, and one of the two would have to make room for Balotelli. As great of an athlete as he might be, he lacks the quickness to be effective on the wing.

Balotelli is trouble. A move for the problematic Italian would be a huge gamble for the Reds. Apart from the finances, Rodgers would risk upsetting one of his top forwards and he'd be bringing one of the sport's biggest distractions into a young dressing room.

Super Mario is running out of options, and chances are he'll wake up one day and realise he has to change his act if he wants people to recognise him for the top striker he can be.

But it shouldn't be with Liverpool. Not for £20 million or any other transfer fee.



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