Having failed to impress on his return to Serie A, Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli looks Anfield bound after AC Milan passed on their option to sign the controversial hit-man on a permanent deal. Finding the net only once in 20-appearances for the Rossoneri, it’s safe to say that 25-year old has underwhelmed despite his promises to buckle down and recapture the kind of form that made him such a promising prospect in the first place.
“Balotelli’s contract with us has expired and there are going to be many players leaving us,” said AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi, who has been blunt in his criticism of the troubled striker long before he made the move to Merseyside. “Players like Alex, Mexes, Boateng and Balotelli are all out of contract and there will be others released too,” he added, suggesting that there could be a massive squad overhaul this summer.
Finishing 7th in the table and missing out on the Copa Italia to an all conquering Juventus side, it’s safe to say that the season hasn’t been just disappointing for Balotelli, but for the Rossoneri as a whole. While they deal with their own problems, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp will now have to add the 25-year old to his own list. Unlikely to be given a chance under the German, the Anfield outfit will be looking to offload him as quick as possible. Italian clubs Sampdoria and Lazio have both reignited their interest in taking on the challenge of turning the striker’s fortunes around, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to afford him or his wages at even a cut price deal. A lucrative offer from China, Turkey China, Turkey or even the United States could materialize, but having been left out of Italy boss Antonio Conte’s squad for Euro 2016, his value is only dropping.
“What can you say about Mario? It’s always been up to him,” said Italian defender Leonardo Bonucci at a press conference on Wednesday. “He should have been intelligent to understand where he had to change. Unfortunately to this day he still hasn’t done that. In a national team like this one, he could have been important if only he had realised that it’s the team which counts, not the individuals. There’s no time to think about prima donnas, you need to be like tanks, ready to fight for one another,” stressed the veteran defender. “If only he had realised this secret in these years, he would have become one of the best forwards in the world and he would be here with us now. He needs to change something inside him to ensure the future will still hold some satisfaction for him and to win back this shirt.”