Mario Balotelli looks to be back in business.
In May, the controversial striker had seemingly arrived at a dead end. His loan spell at AC Milan had been a resounding failure and there was no chance Jurgen Klopp would welcome him back to Liverpool.
Having paid £16m to sign him two years previous, the Reds knew they had made a big mistake and told clubs they could sign him for free. They would do anything, it seems, to get his £90,000-a-week wages off the books.
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Ligue 1 outfit Nice were one of the few clubs willing to take a punt on Balotelli and the Italian gratefully accepted. Thus far, it has proved an excellent deal for both parties.
Balotelli has scored four goals in his first two Ligue 1 games, helping Nice to impressive wins over Marseille and Monaco. They currently sit top of the table, four points ahead of the faltering Paris Saint-Germain.
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It is early days, but Balotelli might well be back; there are even reports that he will be called up to the Italy squad for the upcoming international break. He must already be enjoying life in Nice but the move may never have materialised if the club had listened to his agent Mino Raiola.
Balotelli's goals for Nice
'Don't sign him'
Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere was the man discussing terms with the super agent in the final hours of the summer transfer market but was taken aback when the Dutchman began reeling off countless reasons not to sign him.
Rivere told L'Equipe: “Before an important meeting with Mario, which was delayed due to plane troubles, Mino told me all sorts of reasons why I should not sign this player.”
As it would turn out, it was simply a sales tactic from the agent and gave Balotelli extra incentive to impress upon his arrival in the south of France.
Rivere continued: “When the player arrived, he said to him: ‘There you go, I told the president everything that is bad about you.' These are sales tactics."
The Nice chief also revealed that Raiola did not want his client to sign for the club.
"He has brought Balotelli to Nice but I am not sure he has done this happily," Rivere said. "He told me: ‘For once, Mario gets to choose his destination.’”
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