Liverpool Transfer News: Mario Balotelli Talks Held by Jurgen Klopp, Top Rumours

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2016

GENOA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 27:  Mario Balotelli of AC Milan looks dejected during 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

Jurgen Klopp has reportedly held talks with Mario Balotelli about returning to Liverpool. That's according to Italian source Tuttomercatoweb (h/t Aaron Flanagan of the Daily Mirror).

On loan at Serie A side AC Milan, Balotelli is apparently set to be offered a new lease of life at Anfield, with Flanagan reporting: "Klopp will try and add fresh life to Balotelli's struggling career by giving him one last chance to impress on Merseyside."

Bringing Balotelli back to the English Premier League would be a controversial move from Klopp. Balotelli couldn't get on track despite being afforded several chances by the German's predecessor, Brendan Rodgers.

Balotelli couldn't settle under Rodgers.
Balotelli couldn't settle under Rodgers.Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Even a return to Italy and the Rossoneri has done nothing to improve the 25-year-old striker's form. Since moving back to Italian football's top flight, Balotelli has done little, scoring once in two Serie A starts, as noted by Flanagan. 

He never really looked comfortable with life at Liverpool and certainly didn't warm to Rodgers' style of play or management. Klopp's willingness to indulge Balotelli would be a sign of his desperation to solve Liverpool's biggest problem position.

The Reds lack a talisman up top to be the focal point of their attack. Daniel Sturridge is injury prone, Divock Origi is raw and inexperienced, while Christian Benteke just isn't delivering, despite his £32.5 million price tag.

Perhaps that's why strikers dominate Liverpool's current transfer rumours.

Reds Agree Deal for Alexandre Pato

Maybe Klopp won't need Balotelli. Not if the mooted deal for Alexandre Pato actually goes through. Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla believes it will.

In fact, Pedulla has reported Liverpool have even agreed an £11.28 million deal for the Corinthians forward (h/t Metro's Sean Kearns). The reports claim Liverpool are winning a transfer race also populated by other Premier League clubs, including north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

Pedulla claims Pato has put playing in the Premier League over sealing a switch to China for potentially more money. But those claims have been somewhat contradicted by another Italian journalist, Tancredi Palmeri.

He stated that while Liverpool are talking with Corinthians and Pato, an agreement has yet to be reached (h/t Metro's George Bellshaw).

What is clear is that Pato boasts the pace and intelligent movement to suit Klopp's brand of intense, high-pressing and quick, combination passing.

Klopp also has another target in mind who possesses similar qualities.

Giuseppe Rossi Ready for a New Club

Fiorentina's Giuseppe Rossi is reportedly "on standby" over joining a new club, according to his agent. Comments were made to Italian source Radio Blu (h/t Daily Star's Jamie Anderson).

Rossi wants more first-team football.
Rossi wants more first-team football.Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Agent Andrea Pastorello revealed how his client had generated interest prior to Christmas. While he's still open to a move, Rossi's agent insisted only the right deal and destination will do:

It would be enough to find the right team, but the problem is finding it. Personally, I never said that Giuseppe would leave.

He'll depart only if everybody is convinced. Otherwise we'd all be happy to stay, and the player would fight for his place in the team.

Anderson notes how Liverpool have been linked with the one-time Manchester United and Villarreal man. Earlier this month, Gazzetta World (h/t Daily Mirror's James Whaling) even suggested the Merseyside club is ready to move.

Like Pato, Rossi would make sense as a quick and versatile attacker with an eye for goal from multiple positions. He can play as an attacking midfielder, central striker and even wide forward.

Klopp would no doubt welcome a player as skilled and flexible as Rossi. The 28-year-old also has a proven record for finding the net.

Finding a prolific striker remains the most pressing need for any Liverpool manager. Klopp appears to be casting a very wide net to add greater pace and scoring threat up front.

Of the current options, Balotelli is the more physical and natural No. 9. But his temperament and Klopp's style of play means either Pato or Rossi would likely be a better fit.


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