Although it’s believed that Liverpool have left struggling striker Mario Balotelli off of their pre-season tour on compassionate grounds after the death of his father earlier in the month, the Italian forward is still expected to leave Anfield this summer with the 24-year old on the peripherals of boss Brendan Rodgers plans.
Mustering only a single Premier League goal in 16-appearances on his return to English football, it’s obvious that this is not the Balotelli of his younger days with Inter Milan and Manchester City where his raw skills hinted so heavily at untapped potential. That being said, Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Esposito, who managed him during his time in charge of the Inter Primavera youth team, believes that he’d be able to get Balotelli back on track.
“I’d be happy for him, because Fiorentina would be another chance that he deserves. “I trained him for many years in the youth academy at Inter and can guarantee that to show all of his quality he just needs a new project, something where he can feel at the centre of it,” he told Firenzeviola.it. “Florence has already shown it’s a great place for players to revive their careers. It’s an intriguing idea, I must admit. It’d be good for Mario and Fiorentina,” continued Esposito, laying it on nice and thick. “Everything can be overcome at his age, especially as much of the reputation he’s got was his fault. Mario is a player who without doubt can improve, but I won’t blame him for what he’s done in the past. Florence would undoubtedly be a great opportunity for him to definitively put himself back on track.”
With Balotelli’s agent hinting that his struggles were down to family problems and now with suggestions that the 24-year old will seek a return to Italy to be closer to them, a move to the Viola, a team who may struggle to meet his wage demands, doesn’t seem all that far fetched. The Reds, who will almost certainly bring in a new striker regardless of whether the Italian leaves or not, has been linked with a swap for Fiorentina man Mario Gomez, but whether or not their rumoured interest in genuine or just a convenient bit of fiction remains to be seen. Stranger things have and will continue to happen…