The impending move of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan to Liverpool has divided opinions, with some suggesting that it is bad for the Reds while others claiming that it is good decision from manager Brendan Rodgers.
One well-known football pundit who seems to be sitting on the fence is former Sky Sport analyst Andy Gray.
The 58-year-old ex-Everton and Rangers striker has explained his opinion on the transfer, and his thoughts are likely to resonate with many.
‘With the price, considering Liverpool paid £22m for Adam Lallana and Shane Long’s move to Southampton for £12m, and the fact they’re signing an international footballer there are plenty of plusses’, he told Sport360. ‘It’s just whether or not he behaves himself.
‘People say he’s matured but he will get wound up on the football pitch because that is his nature. His nature is not to turn the other cheek or bite his tongue, his nature is to combat aggression with aggression, which is often to his detriment.
‘There have been many more experienced managers than Rodgers that have had Balotelli and not been able to cope with him’.
Gray hits the nail on the head with his analysis of Balotelli. The Italy international will be cheap – or relatively cheap – at the price of £16 million, but he will bring a large chunk of baggage with him.
It is this baggage that Rodgers will have to take care of. As talented as the 24-year-old is, the former Inter Milan star does tend to go off the boil from time to time.
Even if one ignores his off-pitch controversies, Balotelli is someone who can burst out and create problems on the pitch.
But perhaps for Liverpool, Balotelli was the best striker available on the market. The Reds had been linked with Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco star Radamel Falcao, but they probably could not convince them to switch to Anfield.
Balotelli has the talent and the quality, but whether Rodgers is able to get the best out of the former Manchester City striker remains to be seen.