Reports in Italy suggest that Liverpool and AC Milan have agreed a fee of €20 million for Mario Balotelli and that the striker will sign a five-year-deal on €6 million-a-year.
The Italian striker has been identified as one of Brendan Rodgers’s top targets up-front, as he looks to increase Liverpool’s goalscoring threat for the season.
The 24-year-old forward is seen as a potential replacement for Luis Suarez, who departed for Barcelona this summer, and a perfect partner for Daniel Sturridge up-front for the Reds.
Suarez’s departure had thrown The Reds’ hopes of making the top four into jeopardy, but Balotelli’s arrival should help to enhance their attacking threat.
The Uruguayan notched 31 times in the Premier League last season and although Balotelli is unlikely to hit those figures, he does add considerable quality up-front at Anfield.
The former Manchester City man knows all about English football and will slot into Liverpool’s fast-tempo style of play well.
At AC Milan, where Balotelli has been since 2013, he has scored 26 goals in 43 appearances and he will be looking to recreate those sort of figures this season if he does complete a move to Anfield as expected.
Liverpool have brought in a lot of players this summer, but Balotelli will be the first truly marquee signing they have made and he announces a statement of their intent – as they look to challenge for the Premier League title for the second season running.
In buying Balotelli, Rodgers has taken a massive gamble. He buys a player of undoubted quality, but he now needs to show that he can get the best out of a volatile character.
Balotelli can no longer be considered a youngster, but there is still a rawness to his play which is evident and Rodgers will need to show that he can harness and develop the Italian striker’s skills.
If he can then the Reds are likely to have one of the most potent attacking line-ups in the division, with the pace of Balotelli, Sturridge and Raheem Sterling likely to strike fear into defences across England.