Liverpool Transfer News: Major Lucas Alario and Mario Balotelli Rumours

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2016

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 20: Javier Mascherano of FC Barcelona and Lucas Alario of River Plate during the FIFA Club World Cup Final Match between FC Barcelona and River Plate at International Stadium Yokohama on December 20, 2015 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool are reportedly looking to seal the signing of River Plate striker Lucas Alario before the end of the season but must "untie a bundle of red tape" in order to complete the £9.5 million deal.

According to the Mirror's Ed Malyon, River own only 30 per cent of the Argentinian's economic rights, and an investment group associated with Alario's former club, Colon de Santa Fe, is "holding out for nearly £4 million" for its 40 per cent share.

The report added Liverpool's interest, and that of Borussia Dortmund, is driving up the 23-year-old's value, but the hope is the Reds can seal the deal with an offer just short of £10 million.

In an ideal world, River will own 100 per cent of Alario before Liverpool purchase him, and they are in the process of negotiating for the other 60 per cent, 30 of which will come from a £950,000 purchase in May.

Premier League rules surrounding third-party ownership mean there is no way the Reds can just buy a portion of Alario's rights. 

West Ham United fell foul of the regulations when they signed Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez back in 2006, per the Guardian's David Ornstein.

Alario could be an excellent purchase for Liverpool, who need to add more firepower to their strike department.

Danny Ings is a long-term absentee through injury, Daniel Sturridge a perennial fitness concern and Christian Benteke just does not seem to fit into manager Jurgen Klopp's system, and he could be moved on in the summer, per Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:

Signing Alario would give the German another genuine strike option, and he has shown in Argentina he can be a very effective goalscorer.

His goals were key as River won the 2015 Copa Libertadores—he scored in the semi-finals and final—and he has started the new Primera Division season in fine fashion, per WhoScored.com:

While there could be complications in the deal, Liverpool's interest in Alario seems genuine, and he could be a fine addition to the squad if they can get the signing over the line.

Another striker on Liverpool's books is Mario Balotelli, although the Italian has spent the past season on loan at AC Milan following a dreadful debut term with the Reds in 2014-15.

It has long been assumed Liverpool would eventually sell the 25-year-old, but it does not seem likely Milan will take him on a permanent basis, as he has netted just once in 14 Serie A appearances this season, per WhoScored

According to James Pearce in the Liverpool Echo, there is interest in Balotelli from the Chinese Super League, with clubs having already enquired about him, while Liverpool have also "fielded interest" from Turkey.

Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

The report added Liverpool have given the former Manchester City star's representative, Mino Raiola, "the green light" to talk to potential suitors and also relayed comments from the Dutch agent about his client's situation:

"Balotelli? For the first time with Mario I can’t say anything on a behavioural level. In reality, after the injury he hasn’t managed to get going. The purchase clause? At this point it’s more important that Mario returns to smiling on the pitch. In private he already does, but that’s not enough. Of course, he needs a jolt."

China may well be the best option for all involved, as Far East clubs have recently been flexing their financial muscle in the transfer market and could afford to offer a satisfactory deal in which Liverpool recoup the majority of the £16 million they paid for Balotelli.

It was a poor signing for the Anfield side in the first place, and Balotelli's Liverpool days look to be nearing their end. 

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