Liverpool Transfer News: Mario Balotelli Set for Medical, Brendan Rodgers Talks

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2014

AC Milan's Mario Balotelli walks on the field during a Champions League, round of 16, second leg, soccer match between Atletico Madrid and AC Milan at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Tuesday March 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul White)
Paul White/Associated Press

Mario Balotelli is set to undergo a medical at Liverpool on Friday ahead of completing his return to the Premier League from AC Milan.

The Italian striker, who's renowned for his controversial antics, will be subject to a "good-conduct clause" at the club as Brendan Rodgers aims to curb the vices that have so far limited Balotelli's career progress, per the Daily Mirror's David Maddock.

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio confirmed "the only thing missing are some final details to settle as well as taking the medical in England," while Maddock said Balotelli "flew into the city last night." La Gazzetta Dello Sport confirmed the 24-year-old's departure, via 101 Great Goals:

Maddock suggested that, although the financial side of the deal has been "largely agreed," there are still "significant hurdles" to overcome before Balotelli can be confirmed as a Liverpool player.

Rodgers will meet Balotelli to see whether he is professional enough to dedicate himself to the Reds' cause without any hassle, despite the manager knowing he poses a major risk to the team's work ethic and morale.

Reports suggest Rodgers hasn't got the final say over such a deal and that Balotelli is being forced upon him by a transfer committee, though Maddock, citing close friends of Rodgers, claimed the Northern Irishman is pursuing the deal because of its "phenomenal value." Rodgers is looking to secure a number of "strict clauses" that will protect Liverpool if the player begins to act up.

His reported fee of £16 million is low enough that other suitors may be tempted for a similar price if Balotelli becomes a nuisance. Divock Origi returns to the club in a year's time after completing his loan spell with Lille, meaning Balotelli could be moved on quickly, if needed.

Maddock indicated nobody at Liverpool will try to "reform" the forward but shall aim to "curb" his bad behaviour with specific clauses in his contract.

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

Although Balotelli's history of trouble highlights an individual who is yet to consistently reach his potential, the Reds are snapping up a supremely talented striker. He is audacious, cocky and willing to test his luck from anywhere—all factors which helped the player score 14 goals in 30 appearances for a Milan side who struggled in Serie A last season, per

Rodgers is undoubtedly securing one of the bargains of the summer if the player leaves his baggage behind. A fully focused, hard-working Balotelli is more than capable of becoming a constant match-winner for the club, as we saw against England at the World Cup.

Once Balotelli descends toward an uninterested, sloppy manner, he becomes a liability, as we saw against Costa Rica and Uruguay at the same tournament.

Balotelli's ability to play one excellent game and then become a major frustration to his own team-mates for the next couple sums up his career so far. There's no doubt about the player's natural talent, but his frequent lack of activity on the pitch doesn't appear to fit in with the energy and ambition Rodgers' side flaunts.

Marco Vasini/Associated Press

Football writer Rich Laverty also highlighted a factor that should be taken into account:

Ultimately, the success of this transfer is down to the player himself. It's difficult to suggest Balotelli will receive a starting role upon arrival, unless Rodgers plans to utilise two strikers or push Daniel Sturridge out wide, perhaps dropping one of Raheem Sterling or Philippe Coutinho.

This is extremely unlikely, especially as the boss prefers to deploy a midfield trio behind his three-pronged attack, which is led by Sturridge's movements across the front line.

Balotelli will need to prove his credentials before being considered a starter, but most importantly, he must highlight his attitude is no longer a problem. Five clubs in eight years says an awful lot about the striker who arrives in England with unfinished business.