It's all about strikers in Liverpool's latest transfer rumours as the quest to adequately replace Luis Suarez continues. Now manager Brendan Rodgers is turning his attentions to rebellious misfit Mario Balotelli. The Anfield chief obviously didn't get his fill of controversy while Suarez was at the club.
The Reds have also expressed an interest in European-based Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi. The versatile veteran would give Rodgers a lot of options up front.
There is also potentially positive news for any attempts to sign Germany international Marco Reus.
Here's a closer look at these links, beginning with Balotelli.
Rodgers Declares Admiration For AC Milan Outcast
Rodgers hasn't been shy about expressing his fondness for Balotelli's talents. He recently offered a glowing endorsement of what the maverick 23-year-old can produce on a football pitch, per Daily Mail writer David Kent:
Balotelli is a big talent.
He's got all the qualities. He's 6ft 3ins, he's quick, his touch is terrific and he can score goals.
He went back to Italy to play and he's still so young. If his focus is right, his concentration is right and he leads the lifestyle of a top player then he can play for any team in the world.
At his best, there's no doubt Balotelli certainly offers qualities Liverpool need in attack. Specifically, he's got the pace to fit well in a forward line also featuring speedsters Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling.
But Balotelli also possesses the physical power to complement Sturridge and Sterling. Of course, all of that is under the assumption he can avoid trouble long enough to let his awesome natural ability show.
It also assumes there is a realistic chance of prying him away from the Rossoneri this summer. Balotelli has spent most of this transfer window linked with a return to the Premier League.
The ex-Manchester City striker was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal, per Daily Express reporter Anthony Chapman among others. However, those claims have been flatly rejected by Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, per Yahoo Eurosport.com.
That leaves the door ajar for an offer from Liverpool if Rodgers decides Balotelli is too good to miss.
Liverpool Want Lavezzi, He Wants Juventus
Rodgers' hopes of snaring 29-year-old South American star Lavezzi could be scuppered by the player's wish to return to Italy. Lavezzi was once a big hit in Serie A when he plied his trade for Napoli, prior to moving to France to join Paris-Saint Germain.
Which Striker Should Liverpool Sign?
The prospect of interest from Juventus now has Lavezzi longing to step on Italian soil again. Jack De Menezes of The Independent reports a proposed bid from Rodgers might not be enough to get Lavezzi's attention:
Liverpool could miss out on reported transfer target Ezequiel Lavezzi after the Paris Saint Germain forward would prefer a move to Italian league champions Juventus, according to reports.
The 29-year-old has been identified as an alternative to Loic Remy after the Frenchman failed a medical ahead of his proposed move to Liverpool, and Brendan Rodgers is said to be considering an £18m offer for Lavezzi.
This is something of a setback for Liverpool, purely on the grounds of how well-suited Lavezzi would be to Rodgers' style. He is a quick and tireless runner, versatile enough to play on the flanks or through the middle.
Given how often Rodgers likes to flip-flop between various tactical structures, he would find a player as flexible as Lavezzi invaluable. However, the lure of a move to Turin to join a Juventus team currently dominating Serie A will likely prove too tempting.
Bayern Munich's Nonchalance Gives Hope In Reus Chase
There is still hope for a proposed move for Reus. That fresh impetus comes from reports that Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich aren't in a hurry to snatch the player from rival Borussia Dortmund.
The Premier League giants have both expressed an interest in the 25-year-old who has seen contract talks with Dortmund stall.
The Germany international missed his country's triumphant World Cup campaign, hit 21 goals in 41 games for club and country last season.
And Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has seemingly ruled out a move for Reus this window.
That's a hefty price, but the Reds would be getting a supremely talented forward. Reus is blessed with electrifying pace and terrifically clever movement.
He can switch wings and even act as a central striker if needed. Landing the brilliant 25-year-old would be the coup of this transfer window for Rodgers and Liverpool.
The latest transfer rumours offer proof of how serious the club is about offsetting the loss of Suarez. Players in the "world-class" bracket, and there aren't many, are very difficult to replace.
However, a marquee signing can help fans forget the incredible talent they lost this summer.