Liverpool appear set to complete the signing of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan after negotiations were confirmed, while the player is reported to have already informed teammates that Thursday will be his last day at the San Siro.
It was claimed in the Italian media on Wednesday that Liverpool had made an approach to sign Balotelli on loan, and the situation has accelerated since then with a proposal regarding a permanent deal having since been submitted.
After an initial denial from Milan that Liverpool had been in touch, there has since been a confirmation that Balotelli is “involved in a negotiation” with the Anfield club and the Italy international will depart in an “outright deal” worth a reported £16 million.
It is claimed by The Times that Balotelli had requested a salary of £160,000-per-week - and it would appear this has been agreed given the assertion that the 24-year-old has already said his goodbyes at Milanello, the club’s training facility.
A deal would represent quite a turnaround from Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who had previously moved to extinguish speculation Balotelli was on his radar after publicly expressing his admiration of the player.
"I can categorically tell you Mario Balotelli will not be at Liverpool," Rodgers said during Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the USA.
"In my last press conference I was asked a question about Mario Balotelli and I talked about what a talent he was and what an excellent player he was and the next day it was wrote as if we were signing him.
"I just gave my perception of him as a player. It shouldn't be transmitted in to us signing the player."
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Arsenal and Chelsea interest
Balotelli’s arrival will of course be subject to a medical examination - an area where Liverpool has shown themselves to be stringent this summer - and will represent quite a coup for the club, with the player also linked with Arsenal and Chelsea.
Arsenal had appeared the most likely destination for Balotelli earlier this summer, although Arsene Wenger moved to deny claims that he had considered bringing the former Manchester City player to the Emirates Stadium.
However, Gazetta dello Sport reported on Thursday that Liverpool would face late competition from the Gunners in their pursuit of Balotelli, while Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is also monitoring the situation.