A few years ago, Mario Balotelli was one of the most sought after talents in football.
He made his Inter Milan debut at the age of 17 and impressed in Italy for three years before a big-money move to Manchester City.
Six years later though, and Balotelli is no longer a wanted man. In fact, he’s exactly the opposite.
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Brendan Rodgers deemed him surplus to requirements last summer by shipping him out on-loan to AC Milan. The Italian giants were given an option to make the move a permanent one - something that they turned down after Balotelli scored just once in 20 league appearance.
But returning to Liverpool’s first-team looks highly unlikely with Jurgen Klopp now in charge. The German manager likes to play a high-pressing game meaning the forwards are expected to work hard - something that is alien to Balotelli.
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On Thursday though, it appeared that the enigmatic forward had found his next club. Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, admitted that he was ‘quite sure’ his client would move to Besiktas this summer.
Balotelli's agents' comments
“I offered Mario to Besiktas and I’m waiting for their answer,” he told Turkish outlet Spox.com.tr, per the Liverpool Echo.
“But I’m quite sure the transfer will happen, as the president already assured me in the past that he would do everything he can to sign him.”
The majority of Liverpool fans would have loved that news. Finally, the £16 million flop was set to leave Anfield on a permanent basis.
However, it seems that Besiktas have joined Milan and Liverpool in the ‘We don’t want Balotelli’ club.
Erdal Torunogullari, Besiktas’ sporting director, has denied Raiola’s claims and insisted that they would rather keep Mario Gomez at the club, rather than sign Balotelli.
“We know Raiola well,” he said.
“He’s even said Balotelli will go to Besiktas, but it’s not like that. We’re not interested, our priority is to hold on to Mario Gomez.
“This month will be decisive, everything depends on him [Gomez]. Only then will we decide what to do.”
Oh dear. Poor old Balotelli - it seems like not even Besiktas want him.
Liverpool fans react
Liverpool fans may not feel sorry for Balotelli, but they are definitely annoyed at the news. They took to Twitter to express their anger that the striker may still be on Merseyside come the start of the season.
With just over eight weeks remaining until the Premier League campaign begins, it seems as though Raiola has got a tough job on his hands to find Balotelli a new club.
It certainly won’t be Liverpool where he will be plying his trade next season. Not only will he find it difficult to adapt to Klopp’s philosophy, he will also find it incredibly tough to start ahead of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings for the lone striker role.
So, it seems as though it could be back to square one for Liverpool as they desperately attempt to offload the failing forward.
Anyone want him?