Liverpool have confirmed the signing of Mario Balotelli and they are believed to have paid AC Milan a fee in the region of £16million for the controversial Italy striker.
An announcement had been expected at some point on Monday after Balotelli was photographed already taking part in training at the Anfield club’s Melwood complex.
Liverpool confirmed the signing on their official website and manager Brendan Rodgers expressed his delight at landing the 24-year-old, describing him as a “world class” talent.
"This transfer represents outstanding value for the club and I think we have done a really smart piece of business here," said Rodgers.
"There is no doubting Mario's ability; he is a world-class talent and someone who, for such a young age, has vast experience of playing at the very highest level.”
Brief return to Italy
Balotelli spent only a year and a half with AC Milan after moving there from Manchester City in the 2012 January transfer window, but his high wages and the club’s lack of Champions League football meant they were open to offloading him – not to mention his behavioural problems.
Liverpool managed to confirm the signing ahead of their Monday night Premier League clash with Balotelli’s former club at the Etihad Stadium. The deal could not be done in time, but he was in the stands to watch the game.
It means Liverpool now have three centre-forward options in the shape of Balotelli, Daniel Sturridge and Rickie Lambert, though it will be interesting to see how Rodgers will line them up.
Since the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona earlier this summer Sturridge will likely be seen as the first choice centre-forward, but the England international worked sensationally well with the Uruguayan last term to suggest he could do similarly well with Balotelli.