AC Milan have slashed their asking price for Mario Balotelli in the hope of enticing formally interested clubs like Arsenal and Liverpool to make a bid for the enigmatic striker.
However, despite the fact the Italy international could now be available for as little as £14.5 million, he remains a risk not worth taking for either Premier League club this summer.
The cut-price fee being demanded by the Serie 'A' giants is reflective of the 23-year-old's disastrous showing at the World Cup in Brazil, as Milan president Silvio Berlusconi recently explained.
"Other than Italy, I lost during the World Cup," he was quoted saying by the Daily Express. "I was about to sell Balotelli to an English team for several millions. But after this World Cup who will buy him anymore?"
Arsenal and Liverpool interest
Earlier reports this summer had intimated that Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers were both considering £24 million offers for the former Manchester City man, as both clubs seek reinforcements in attack ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.
The Gunners boss is on the lookout for a new striker to ease the goalscoring burden on Olivier Giroud, and despite completing the high profile capture of Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez could still move to add another central striker at the Emirates Stadium.
Liverpool meanwhile have £75 million burning a hole in their pockets following Luis Suarez's sale to Barcelona, and the Anfield club's search for a replacement had briefly taken them to Italy to consider bringing Balotelli back to England.
But, thankfully for Reds fans Rodgers seems to have seen the light and has instead turned attention to Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony - although he'll have to stump up significantly more cash for his services than what the AC Milan outcast is now allegedly available for.
The only fear is now that Balotelli's price-tag has come crashing down even further it might tempt Liverpool or Arsenal to renew their interest in the player, but his arrival would be a massive gamble for either suitor.
Both clubs have a strong first-team, and the Italian is renowned for becoming quickly unsettled and damaging squad harmony, which could ultimately do more harm than good during the 2014/15 season.
There's no doubting Balotelli's ability. When he's on his game he's proved to be one of the best strikers in world football, but those occasions are too few and far between, and instead his reputation for on and off-field misdemeanours is what the player is most remembered for.
A string of high-profile incidents during his last stint in the Premier League have tarnished his status, and neither Arsenal or Liverpool should consider signing the player even if he was available on a free transfer simply because of his poor attitude.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard, and Balotelli - despite his obvious quality - is not what is required this summer as both clubs look to push on again this season.
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