Liverpool Transfer News: Radamel Falcao Bid Expected, Mario Balotelli Latest

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2014

MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - DECEMBER 20:  Monaco's foward Radamel Falcao  trains before the French L1 football match between AS Monaco vs Valenciennes at Louis II Stadium on December 20, 2013 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  (Photo by Didier Baverel/Getty Images)
Didier Baverel/Getty Images

Liverpool are said to be preparing a £12 million bid to sign Radamel Falcao on loan for the season, while Mario Balotelli could also be brought in on a temporary basis, according to reports.

Brendan Rodgers' search for a new striker looks to be intensifying after the Reds' disappointing attacking display against Southampton. He needs a replacement for Luis Suarez—a player who can notch 30 goals a season in the Premier League—and appears to be eyeing the world-class quality of Monaco's prolific forward as his first choice.

French radio station RMC, reported via the Metro, suggests Rodgers will use an expensive temporary move for Falcao to provide Liverpool with leverage while trying to land the Colombian permanently. "Rodgers is offering a £12 million loan fee with Liverpool also keen to insert a clause meaning they can sign him for £31 million next summer," reads Metro's translation.

Falcao has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid. Rodgers was previously alleged to have been told it's "Madrid or nothing" for the player, reported by Chris McKenna of the Daily Star. A loan move would facilitate this, as the European champions could return with a mega bid next summer if Falcao joins the English team for 12 months.

Monaco may also be tempted to let the 28-year-old regain some of his worth abroad after injury ruled him out for most of last season. Falcao's immense quality ensures he isn't a risk—he has proven to be a prolific goalscorer at Porto, Atletico Madrid and in France—meaning his acquisition would be one of the summer's best if Liverpool can pull the deal off.

More of a risk is the potential move for Balotelli. Fox Sports previously provided comments where Rodgers "categorically" denied the Italian "will not be at Liverpool," but the latest reports suggest this stance has changed, per Sky Sports:

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

John Percy of The Telegraph notes Rodgers' "increasing desperation" in trying to land a new striker, an occurrence that has led the Northern Irishman to contemplate a loan deal that could be ended "immediately" if Balotelli misbehaves.

Considering how often the 24-year-old created unsavoury headlines at Manchester City, it is extremely important Liverpool cover their backs if Balotelli is deemed the player they want.

Simon Jones of the Daily Mail says Mino Raiola, the player's agent, has "has flown to England to ascertain what Liverpool want to do and see if other English clubs are interested." Milan CEO Adriano Galliani stated, "at this time we have not received any offer from Liverpool for Balotelli," per Gazzetta dello Sport and via Ben Burrows of the Mirror.

BERGAMO, ITALY - MAY 11:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan shows his dejection during the Serie A match between Atalanta BC and AC Milan at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia on May 11, 2014 in Bergamo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Many will question the sense of bringing Balotelli in. Despite being a match-winner when fully focused, the striker's career-long history of bad press isn't what Liverpool need after Suarez's departure.

Balotelli's relationship with the English media is poor and would likely continue deteriorating if he returns to the Premier League. Although Balotelli is often lethal in front of goal, Rodgers must question whether he is worth the hassle.

Sky Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio believes "Milan would only move Balotelli on a straight sale," something Tony Barrett of the Times indicates is a possibility:

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 10:  Brendan Rodgers manager of Liverpool during the Pre Season Friendly match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund at Anfield on August 10, 2014 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Clint Hughes/Getty Images

While it's obvious which forward the majority of fans would like to see on Merseyside, both Falcao and Balotelli have the qualities to sharpen the Reds' attack alongside Daniel Sturridge. Rodgers appears ambitious enough to compete for the biggest names and would be underlining Liverpool's recent improvements by landing Monaco's expensive star.

Balotelli has the potential of being a coup—if the Liverpool boss is able to halt the player's natural urge to cause trouble. Either way, Anfield followers can expect to see a new frontman arrive before the transfer window slams shut on Sept. 1.