Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Present Perfect Situation for Mario Balotelli

Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2014

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 27:  Mario Balotelli #45 of AC Milan signals to teammates against Manchester City during International Champions Cup 2014 at Heinz Field on July 27, 2014 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers has expressed his admiration for AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli, and the Reds could present the young Italian with the perfect opportunity to revitalise his career.

Liverpool have been linked with a host of forwards, including Balotelli, during the 2014 summer transfer window, and as reported by Metro's Jamie Sanderson, Rodgers told reporters Super Mario is exactly the type of player he likes:

Balotelli has all the qualities [I like]. He’s 6’3”, he’s quick, his touch is terrific, he can score goals and he’s still so young. I saw that in this time at Inter as a young player and obviously going to Manchester City when we had a real close eye on him there. He’s a big talent.

Balotelli's talent has never been questioned. At his best, he's a physical freak with surprising touch and technique, capable of turning a match on its head with a single flash of brilliance.

The Italian international comes with baggage, however, and it isn't minor. His antics both on and off the pitch are well documented, as evidenced by this video:

Balotelli is a phenomenal player, but in his world, everything revolves around Mario. He has had a negative impact on every locker room he's ever been a part of, he often sulks on the pitch as soon as things don't go his way and in the past, he has quit on every team he's ever played for.

For all of his prowess with the ball at his feet, his production has often failed to live up to the hype. Balotelli's first six months with AC Milan in the 2012-13 season were impressive (12 goals in 13 appearances), but other than that, he's never scored more than 14 goals in a single league campaign, per

When you remember Balotelli is the focal point of a struggling Milan team, those numbers simply aren't indicative of a world-class forward. But then again, he's still just 23-years-old. When he was happy in Milan, it rained goals. As soon as the club's fortunes changed, so did his output.

Balotelli is as close to uncoachable as it gets, which is why Milan are willing to part with him for as little as £14 million, according to Sanderson. In this day and age, that's more than just a bargain.

It's important to note the marriage of Milan and Balotelli was supposed to save both parties just 18 months ago: Balotelli needed to get out of England and found a new home at his favourite club; Milan needed a star.

The fact they're now willing to move him for £14 million speaks volumes to the kind of person Balotelli is.

Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

And yet. If there's one man who might have a chance of helping Balotelli overcome his demons and reach his full potential, it's Rodgers. The man was able to get Daniel Sturridge to buy into the club's philosophy and had Luis Suarez playing the best, most focused football of his life before he travelled to the 2014 World Cup.

Liverpool could still use depth at the striker position, but Balotelli isn't a bench player. Rodgers found a way to get both Sturridge and Suarez on the pitch—there's no reason he couldn't repeat that feat with the Italian.

The Reds have the financial stability to gamble on the troubled Balotelli, and he would be the kind of marquee signing that would excite the fans and put the cherry on top of what has been a solid transfer window.

Hassan Ammar/Associated Press

At a reported £14 million, the risk is minimal at least on a financial level. Balotelli holds tons of value in his name alone—the club would likely still make a profit if things didn't work out and they decided to sell him.

The biggest risk would undoubtedly be his influence on a relatively young dressing room, but at least the Reds have a handful of experienced veterans who would have no qualms putting a young pup in his place. Don't expect the likes of Steven Gerrard to tolerate his antics the way Manchester City did.

Whether Liverpool should move for Balotelli or not is debatable. Some people will point to the need and transfer fee, while others will base their argument around his history of causing trouble.

MILAN, ITALY - JUNE 26:  Mario Balotelli arrives at Malpensa Airport on June 26, 2014 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

For Balotelli, however, a move to Liverpool would be a blessing. New manager Pippo Inzaghi clearly doesn't rate him enough to make him untouchable on the transfer market, and the Italians are fed up with his behaviour. There have also been some recent cases of racism in Serie A, with one example described by the Daily Mail's Rik Sharma, and this is not likely to be problem he would encounter in England.

A £14 million transfer fee would take some pressure off his shoulders, allowing him to get settled into his new surroundings. He'd get to work with a young, talented squad and a manager willing to take chances on troubled players, provided they work hard.

The pressure of having to replace Suarez could be difficult to deal with, but the Reds have a host of players capable of scoring goals—that wouldn't all fall to Super Mario.

Should Rodgers come calling, Balotelli should think long and hard about Liverpool's offer. A move to Anfield is just what the 23-year-old needs, and a marriage between club and player could prove to be a very productive one.