Liverpool Transfer News: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Mario Balotelli, Latest Rumours

Matt Jones@@MattJFootballFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and FC Barcelona on December 9, 2015 at the BayArena in Leverkusen, Germany.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly made contact with Barcelona about the possible signing of their young goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

According to RMC Sport (h/t Max Miller of Metro), the Reds have made an enquiry into the availability of the German, who is the Blaugrana’s starting goalkeeper in the Champions League.

Miller writes that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is unconvinced by his current options between the sticks: Simon Mignolet and Adam Bogdan.

Ter Stegen would be quite a coup for the Reds. Here’s a look at why he’s rated as one of the best young goalkeepers in world football:

Miller writes that Ter Stegen is reportedly unhappy about being behind Claudio Bravo in the pecking order at the Camp Nou, with the Chilean used by manager Luis Enrique for La Liga matches. With that in mind, it's suggested the German goalkeeper could be tempted to make the switch to Merseyside to link up with his compatriot Klopp.

Bravo is currently ahead of Ter Stegen in the goalkeeper pecking order.
Bravo is currently ahead of Ter Stegen in the goalkeeper pecking order.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

However, despite being behind Bravo currently, Ter Stegen is anticipated to be the Barcelona goalkeeper for many years to come. Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez rates him very highly indeed:

As noted, his distribution is pretty immaculate, but there are other facets of his goalkeeping that make Ter Stegen stand out. The 23-year-old is authoritative in controlling his penalty area, very quick off his line and a wonderful shot-stopper, too. Subsequently, it’d be peculiar to see Barcelona part ways with such a talented young player.

It may be frustrating for Ter Stegen being behind Bravo, but he’s getting crucial experience at the Camp Nou, having already played in a Champions League final in 2014-15. The German will have had assurances over being the club’s long-term No. 1, meaning Liverpool would be very unlikely to succeed in any potential pursuit.


Mario Balotelli's Future Discussed by Agent

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan salutes the fans at the end of the Serie A match between Genoa CFC and AC Milan at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on September 27, 2015 in Genoa, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Mino Raiola, the agent of Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli, insists the Italian could still have a future at Anfield when he returns from his loan spell at AC Milan.

Former boss Brendan Rodgers shipped out the controversial striker in the summer, but Raiola thinks that with Klopp at the helm, things may be different for Balotelli, per Sky Sports News HQ (h/t Michael Kelleher of Sky Sports):

Whether Klopp has a plan for him or not—I don't know, I haven't spoken to him about this or to Liverpool. 

I think it is too soon. Obviously if Mario does what he has to do, there is maybe another view on him also. He had to go away because with Brendan [Rodgers] there was no possibility to develop any more. There was a preconception towards Mario and I think from his private part of life he has proven them wrong.

Balotelli signed for Liverpool from Milan in the summer of 2014 but scored just one Premier League goal in his debut season at Anfield. After a bright start for the Rossoneri during his loan spell, the forward has not featured since the end of September due to injury, but according to Matteo Bonetti of beIN Sports, he is not far off making a return.

Here’s a look at what Balotelli is capable of when he puts it all together:

Even though Klopp is revered as a brilliant motivator and a manager who can get everything out of his players, Balotelli is a special case. Indeed, Rodgers, Roberto Mancini and Jose Mourinho have all previously tried and failed to unlock the obvious potential that the 25-year-old possesses.

Having struggled to make an impression at Inter Milan, Manchester City, AC Milan and Liverpool, it doesn’t seem as though the striker has the temperament required to thrive at the top level.

Klopp will seek to build a squad that is hungry, hard-working and adaptable on Merseyside; sadly for Balotelli, he’s rarely shown he can tick those boxes.