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24 Aug 2015

Medical Today: Liverpool close to transfer agreement for £16m 'maverick'. Done deal this week?

The end is nigh: After being banished from the first-team squad, Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli is finally set to leave Anfield this week, and it looks like the Italian is set for a return to former club AC Milan.

On Sunday, Milan CEO Adriano Galliani confirmed that a deal is on the brink of being completed. He told Sportmediaset:

"There are talks with Liverpool. We want a loan with a portion of wages paid by us and another portion by Liverpool. We want Balo because we are convinced [he] realises this is his last chance.".

The Daily Mail further claims:

"Balotelli took a flight to Verona [on Sunday] and met up with Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic and his assistant Nenad Sakic in Prato, just outside Florence".

Eurosport adds:

"Balotelli will undergo a medical tomorrow [Monday] and complete the loan move with a possible option to buy".

Obviously, this is a deal that has to happen, even if Liverpool take a hit on the wages, but despite the antipathy towards Balotelli, I still can't get my head around the following:

* In the season prior to joining Liverpool, Balotelli grabbed 25 goals/assists in 39 games for Milan, but at LFC, he's suffered a massive 80% reduction in creative output.

* Balotelli has an overall career average of one goal/assist every 1.7 games; under Rodgers, that's plummeted to 1 goal/assist every 7 games.

* If every other manager under whom Balotelli has worked managed to coax out of him a goal/assist every 1.7 games (despite his issues), why has Rodgers abjectly failed to do the same?

'Maverick' Balotelli needs to take some personal responsibility for his performances/preparation etc, but Brendan Rodgers is heavily complicit in the Italian's failure at Anfield, and for allowing his raging hubris to dictate Liverpool's transfer policy.

Rodgers knew exactly what he was doing when he signed Balotelli, and he clearly believed he could succeed where the likes of Mancini and Mourinho (both superior managers) failed.

Indeed, after signing the striker, Rodgers - ever the self-appointed father-figure - triumphantly claimed that he could 'improve' Balotelli and 'help him mature'.

Rodgers wanted the glory of being 'the man who changed Balotelli!', but ultimately, he resoundingly failed to achieve either of those stated goals.

The truth is, Balotelli regressed over the last year, many other players have suffered the same fate under Rodgers, which is why the blame for this transfer fiasco is (arguably) 60/40 in Rodgers' favour.

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Author: Jaimie K


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