Serie A duo Inter Milan and Napoli must veer clear of a move for struggling Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli.
The Italian, who has found the net just once for Brendan Rodgers’s side since his summer move from AC Milan, is reportedly being eyed by both sides as they look to bolster their striking options in order to secure Champions League football this season.
However, given the striker’s reputation as both a maverick and a menace, they should look elsewhere and leave the Italian alone to transform his fortunes over on Merseyside.
Rodgers signed the 24-year-old as a replacement for Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, but the controversial character is yet to shine in the Uruguayan’s absence.
He is still yet to break his Premier League duck despite featuring nine times, and was hauled off by his manager at half-time as Real Madrid reigned supreme when the two teams clashed last month.
Fans and pundits alike have been damning in delivering their verdicts, with huge misses against Queens Park Rangers and Hull City costing the Merseyside outfit dear in their own quest to be in Europe’s top-tier competition next year.
Such poor form has led to inevitable speculation over his future, and also cries for the club to recall striker Divock Origi from his loan spell with Lille. Balotelli’s form may pick up when England striker Daniel Sturridge returns from injury, but for now is currently stuck in a rot that is providing difficult to get out of.
Napoli and Inter may be struggling in Serie A but signing the out-of-sorts Italian is not the answer to their problems. Rafael Benitez’s side currently possess formidable marksmen in the form of Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens so swooping for Balotelli would merely add to the Spaniard’s selection headache.
Inter could arguably do with strengthening in that department but already possess one maverick in Dani Osvaldo, who may yet come good under the stewardship of the returning Roberto Mancini after a summer move from Premier League side Southampton.
Milan have started the season steadily enough in his absence, but despite his replacement Fernando Torres struggling adjust to life outside England, have already admitted they are happier without the controversial striker in their ranks.
The Serie A pair may yet turn their seasons around but for Balotelli he is facing an uncertain future at both club and national level.
Liverpool was his big move, his ‘final chance’ to put right a career currently filled with controversy, but for now he looks destined to leave England once again sooner rather than later. And if he does, beware the next club that swoops for his services.