Updates from Monday, Aug. 25
Mario Balotelli has officially joined Liverpool, according to the team's official Twitter feed:
Balotelli posted a photo of himself at Anfield on Instagram, with the caption "YNWA!! Come on Liverpool!":
The Daily Mail provides pictures of Balotelli training at Melwood:
Sky Sports reports that the talented striker has arrived at Anfield:
Mario Balotelli has arrived at Liverpool’s Melwood training ground as his £16million move to Anfield from AC Milan edges closer.
The flamboyant striker flew into Liverpool airport earlier on Monday morning where he was picked up in an official club car and driven to the Premier League side's training ground.
Balotelli’s management team and Liverpool chief executive Iain Ayre arrived at Melwood earlier in the day as they prepare for the 24-year-old to sign a contract with the club.
Mike Whalley of ESPNFC has the latest on Balotelli:
Mario Balotelli is expected to sign a three-year contract with Liverpool on Monday after persuading manager Brendan Rodgers that he is the right man to bolster their attack.
Balotelli underwent a two-part medical in Manchester and Liverpool on Friday and Saturday after the Reds agreed a 16 million pounds fee with AC Milan.
Updates from Friday, Aug. 22
Brendan Rodgers dropped a huge hint that Mario Balotelli will soon be a Liverpool player during Friday's pre-match press conference, insisting, "I can't speak about it until the player has signed."
Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo tweeted from the press conference as Rodgers was quizzed on Liverpool's imminent £16 million arrival:
Rodgers on Balotelli signing: "I can categorically tell you that I can't speak about it until the player is signed."— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) August 22, 2014
Rodgers: "When a player is signed then I will speak about them then."— Phil Kirkbride (@philkecho) August 22, 2014
Balotelli has reportedly agreed terms with Liverpool and is on his way to Merseyside for a medical, as his transfer from AC Milan moves closer.
Enrico Passarella of trusted news source GianlucaDiMarzio.com tweeted the following on Friday:
Sky Sports also reported the development:
BREAKING NEWS: Mario Balotelli heading to England for medical ahead of a potential move to Liverpool #SSNHQ— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 22, 2014
Balotelli was reportedly asked to agree to a series of "stringent clauses" regarding his behaviour, per the Daily Mirror's David Maddock. The fact that he has now "agreed terms" means arguably the toughest hurdle has been negotiated.
Rodgers said of Liverpool's code of conduct, per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:
Rodgers: "Every club will have a code of conduct. We have a fantastic environment and a great culture. Nothing will ever shake that."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) August 22, 2014
Pearce claims personal terms of £110,000 a week have been settled, adding, "the Reds received the reassurances they wanted about the striker's willingness to agree to behavioural clauses in his contract."
Balotelli will not, however, be able to make his debut against Manchester City on Monday, after Friday's registration deadline passed, per Jonny Singer of the Daily Mail.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini commented on the potential return of Balotelli to the Premier League, quoted saying by Manchester Evening News' Rob Dawson:
Pellegrini 'not surprised' Balotelli is heading back to the Premier League. "He's a very good player. He can play anywhere he wants."— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) August 22, 2014
Maddock writes that the striker will meet with Brendan Rodgers, giving the Liverpool boss his chance to ensure Balotelli has the necessary determination to boost his developing Reds squad.
Predictably, news of Balotelli's move is confirmed across the Italian press on Friday, as highlighted by this image of La Gazzetta dello Sport's back page, provided by 101 Great Goals:
At this stage there is no sign of a potential hijack from any other club, as suffered by Liverpool in recent pursuits of Mohamed Salah and Willian.
However, Di Marzio does report—via David Amoyal—that Balotelli's agent "had a conversation with Atletico Madrid in which he offered the striker," only for talks to advance no further.
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 21
Fabrizio Romano reports that the deal will be completed on Friday:
AC Milan have confirmed Mario Balotelli has said goodbye to his teammates ahead of his widely anticipated move to Liverpool.
An official statement on the club's website, under the headline "Balotelli Leaves Milanello," reads:
Mario Balotelli drove out of Milanello at 13.30 after saying good-bye to his team-mates and the club's press staff.
Balotelli did, however, warn that "nothing is on paper yet" amid widespread reports of a £16 million switch to Liverpool.
That's according to trusted Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, translated by Enrico Passarella, who provides pictures of Balotelli driving away from the Serie A club:
Balotelli leaves Milanello, probably for the last time as a Milan player. He’s ready to return in Premier League and join Liverpool. Few minutes ago, he left the training center driving his Ferrari. He didn’t sign autographs or take pictures. He stated: "Nothing is decided, nothing is on paper yet." But the transfer seems close. ... He said goodbye to his friends and teammates. He was relieved, serene. He strongly desires to return to the Premier League.
Liverpool’s negotiations for Balotelli moved rapidly on Thursday, with Sky Sport 24 reporter Guglielmo Cannavale claiming an agreement has been reached between Milan and the Merseyside giants.
Liverpool Echo reporter James Pearce also reports the £16 million fee:
£16m fee agreed. Just a case of agreeing personal terms now in terms of Balotelli's move to Anfield #LFC— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) August 21, 2014
Cannavale even quotes Balotelli confirming that the deal is imminent:
Balotelli: "This is my last day in Ac Milan" [Sky] #LFC— Guglielmo Cannavale (@GugliCannavale) August 21, 2014
Tancredi Palmeri of beIN Sports expects talks to conclude with Liverpool imminently:
Balotelli's manager Raiola to have meeting with Liverpool in next half hour— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) August 21, 2014
Eurosport notes reports from Italy that claim Balotelli will "earn €6m (£4.8m) a year until 2018" by penning a contract at Anfield.
However, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has questioned whether Balotelli is the right man to boost the Reds' striking options:
Momentum is building in the possible transfer of Mario Balotelli, who is in talks over a switch from AC Milan to Liverpool.
Rumours have been gathering pace since Wednesday that the player could make the switch from Serie A to the Premier League in one of the surprise transfers of the summer.
Sky Sports and the BBC now confirm that Balotelli's representatives are in dialogue with the Anfield club, as Brendan Rodgers looks to buy a talisman for his attack:
Sky Sources: Liverpool in talks to sign AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli. #SSNHQ— Sky Sports News HQ (@SkySportsNewsHQ) August 21, 2014
Liverpool are in talks with AC Milan to sign Italy striker Mario Balotelli— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 21, 2014
Milan's own TV station has confirmed that a move is being discussed by the two clubs for the "outright sale of Mario Balotelli," per Football Italia.
Simon Jones of the Mail Online writes that Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, has flown to England to ascertain the situation with Liverpool after Rodgers' apparent change of heart in signing the player.
Jones says the Anfield club may now be interested in bringing Balotelli to Merseyside on loan.
The Liverpool manager recently spoke about Balotelli and said he had no interest in bringing the controversial Italian superstar to the club.
Rodgers was forceful in his assertions that he had absolutely no interest in the former Manchester City striker, per ESPN:
I can categorically tell you Balotelli will not be at Liverpool. In my last press conference I was asked a question about Balotelli and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was.
And the next day it was wrote as if we were signing him, which doesn't surprise me. I just gave my perception of him as a player. It shouldn't be transmitted in to us signing the player.
Rodgers' change of heart is surprising but not particularly shocking given his club's need for an additional striker and goal outlet.
Despite his chequered past, Balotelli has always scored goals wherever he has been, and his reputation is still very strong in his native Italy.
AC Milan had one of their worst seasons in living memory last year, but Balotelli still displayed that he can find the net. In 2013-14, he scored 14 goals in just 25 Serie A starts, proving that he has not lost the Midas touch in the penalty area.
However, Milan chief administrator Adriano Galliani was coy when recently asked about the possibility of Balotelli joining Rodgers' team, saying to Gazzetta dello Sport, per Ben Burrows of the Mirror, "At this time we have not received any offer from Liverpool for Balotelli. Hence, there is no negotiation."
But he then added, "We will see as the transfer market ends on September 1."
Sky Sports News' Vinny O'Connor now believes talks have moved along rapidly and that a permanent move for the player could be sealed:
So my understanding of Balotelli link with Liverpool....discussions taking place to broker a permanent deal— Vinny O'Connor (@VinnOConnor) August 21, 2014
Tony Barrett of The Times also says talks have been positive:
Talks between Liverpool and AC Milan over Balotelli are progressing well and are set to resume today.— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) August 21, 2014
Balotelli would be a controversial buy for Liverpool, but their fans enjoy a maverick player in their team. There is a space in the hearts and minds of Scousers after the departure of Luis Suarez, and Balotelli does bring a certain entertainment factor along with him.
Is Brendan Rodgers' change of heart about Mario Balotelli correct?
With Raheem Sterling growing each and every game and Daniel Sturridge in the form of his life, Balotelli could be a shrewd addition. He is an individual who knows what it takes to win the Premier League, and Liverpool do not have that type of player in abundance.
Balotelli would not be the star of the team at Anfield, and this will further help him calmly settle down into his new environment.
He will be motivated to prove why so many felt he could become the best striker in the world previously, and Liverpool's Champions League staging will be perfect for him to prove his detractors wrong.