Lazio have told Mario Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, that they will take the Italian forward on loan for the entirety of next season, but only if they qualify for the Champions League.
The Serie A outfit will participate in a qualifying tie that will determine if they end up in Europe’s premier competition, though they could be drawn against the likes of Manchester United.
Lazio interest prominent
If they lose they’ll instead take part in the Europa League, but then might not have enough need to warrant Balotelli’s arrival.
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According to the Daily Mirror, the club have informed Raiola of their plans to potentially recruit his client, who has been widely tipped to leave Anfield following a poor debut season there.
Despite signing for Brendan Rodgers from AC Milan for a figure of around £16million, the ex-Manchester City man only managed four goals in all competitions, and the recent arrivals of Christian Benteke and Danny Ings appear to have sealed his fate.
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Getting rid of Balotelli
That said offloading him appears to be a trickier process than Liverpool may have anticipated. Both Bologna and Sampdoria registered their interest in a permanent deal in recent weeks, but it looks as though neither is willing to pay his wages on top of a loan fee the Reds would expect.
Arriving to save the day though are Lazio, who will not only consent to stumping up the £1.5m Liverpool want as payment for Balotelli’s loan, but also have view to signing him permanently next year for £12.5m if he impresses.
Of course there’s plenty of ‘ifs’ surrounding any potential deal, not least the one that ensures they won’t do business if they can’t make the Champions League group stages.
Issues with said deal
Not only that but Lazio also want Liverpool to assist in paying Balotelli’s wages for the season, with the Biancazzurri only prepared to pick up 30 percent of an £80,000-a-week tab.
For those not overly gifted in mathematics - myself included - it translates to the fact that the Reds would be paying a lot for a player whose services they wouldn’t be benefitting from.
Rodgers has supposedly made it clear that Balotelli doesn’t feature in his plans for the campaign ahead, leaving the Italian with little choice but to seek pastures new. Are Lazio the best placed side to capture him? It certainly looks so.
Liverpool fans, do you think it’s worth sending Balotelli out on a season-long loan? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.