Mario Balotelli, who has had another successful spell in Italy after transferring to AC Milan from Manchester City, has confirmed that he will be returning to England to join Liverpool. But how will he adapt to life up in Merseyside?
The Italian striker had been linked with a move to Anfield by a host of both Italian and English journalists over the past few days, and the rumours have proved to be true.
Balotelli announced to reporters earlier today, “this is my last day in Milan, my last day at Milanello.”
Ever since the Italian forward’s move back to Italy, his future at AC Milan had been in doubt. This doubt was strengthened as Milan failed to qualify for either of the two top European competitions. Over the summer he has been linked with a move to Arsenal, but with Arsene Wenger unwilling to ‘splash the cash’, following the big money signing of Alexis Sanchez, the rumours died down.
However a move back to the Premier League now looks certain, as Liverpool have reportedly made a successful bid of £16 million to take the striker to Anfield on a permanent basis, according to Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio.
Di Marzio said, “Balotelli is close to Anfield.
“The figure? It is assumed around twenty million, no bonus.”
This has also been confirmed on the AC Milan club website. But the question is, how would a player like Balotelli fit in at Liverpool?
This can be answered simply. Liverpool, who have just sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for a reported £65m, will know how to deal and constrain players such as Balotelli, who has a record for struggling to maintain good behaviour on and off the pitch. For example, Balotelli was photographed during his City days fighting with (then) manager, Roberto Mancini.
But during his time at City he was not the number one striker. At Liverpool there would be no doubt surrounding his place in the team. I can see him playing in an lone striker position, possibly with Sturridge behind him – pretty much in the same position as Suarez last term. This would make Liverpool play in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which they use regularly anyway.
Balotelli would add extra depth to the superior attack which saw Liverpool finish second last season. In my opinion, if Liverpool treat Balotelli likes he’s their number one striker, he could be, and should be, their direct replacement for Suarez.
He wouldn’t need to get used to the Premier League either, since he already has experience of playing – and winning – in the league with Manchester City.
At the moment, Mario is certainly on form. When comparing his goal to game ratio at Manchester City (54 games, 20 goals) to his at AC Milan (43 games, 26 goals) you can see that he is scoring more freely, and if he continues in that vein he could go down as a Liverpool legend.
At 24, yes only 24, he has already proved himself as one of the world’s best forwards. If you disagree, you should take a look at these stats:
Overall, if given the chance to perform for Liverpool, there is no doubt that he would shine. He is the perfect player to replace Suarez, as he has now started to mature and is still scoring goals consistently.
He is a steal for only £16 million and he should allow Liverpool to challenge for the title again this season.