Things have gone from bad to worse for Mario Balotelli's career in 2015 and the new year doesn't appear to be bringing the on-loan Liverpool striker any joy either.
Still recovering from a serious hip injury sustained in November, the only thing keeping him in the limelight is his strong presence on social media. For AC Milan, his impact since arriving in the summer has been nothing more than minimal.
Just four appearances and one goal means the Serie A outfit are unlikely to repurchase the Italian striker on a permanent basis and his agent, Mino Raiola, is well aware of the situation. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, he is already preparing for his client's return to Anfield.
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Whether Liverpool fans want him or not, Balotelli will become a Liverpool player once again when his season-long loan deal expires in the summer and Raiola has contacted Jurgen Klopp to gauge the thoughts of the German manager towards his controversial client.
Indeed, Balotelli has managed to split opinion throughout his career, but 18 months in football's wilderness has left him with all but a few worshippers. And there is some doubt as to whether Klopp has any place for him in his squad.
Work to be done
That is probably why Raiola is seeking talks with him now. There is a lot of work to be done if Balotelli is to stay at the top of the game following what seems an inevitable exit from Liverpool next summer.
With Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Christian Benteke and Danny Ings currently on Liverpool's books, only a strange series of events would likely see Balotelli reinstated in the squad.
One last chance
Liverpool cannot expect to reclaim anything like their £16m outlay, but even for half of that, Raiola will struggle to find a Champions League club willing to take a gamble on him.
Working under Klopp on Merseyside is likely to appear to Balotelli and the German manager has been known to get the best out of players struggling to fulfil their potential.
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