Milan want Liverpool outcast to replace Balotell if Torres bid fails - report

As AC Milan search for a replacement for Mario Balotelli, they have made Fabio Borini a backup option for Fernando Torres.

The big transfer over the last week - aside from Manchester United's £60m pursuit of Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria - was the deal which saw AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli return to the Premier League after just 18 months away, as Liverpool paid £16m to bring the controversial Italian back to England.

Balotelli, 24, has been brought in by Reds boss Brendan Rodgers in order to replace star striker Luis Suarez, who signed for Barcelona earlier this summer. Having hit 30 goals in just 54 games for AC Milan, Balotelli has been prolific since leaving Manchester City in January 2013 - leaving a big hole for the Serie A side to fill.

Balotelli's sale is a symptom of the recent malaise for Milan; a star sold with a budget replacement in mind. Recent years have seen the likes of Thiago Silva, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kaka and Zlatan Ibrahimovic sold, whilst Andrea Pirlo was inexplicably allowed to leave the club on a free transfer to Serie A rivals Juventus. Loans, free agents and cast-offs have been brought in to replace them, unsurprisingly leaving Milan lagging behind their rivals.

New manager Pippo Inzaghi has made a few encouraging signings this summer in Diego Lopez, Alex and Jeremy Menez, but now his biggest move is to come in trying to replace Balotelli.

Reports suggest that goal shy Chelsea striker Fernando Torres is the club's top target given that the Blues have snapped up Diego Costa and Didier Drogba whilst targeting Roma's Mattia Destro.

However, with Torres' wages posing something of a stumbling block, Milan have to look for alternatives if the Spaniard doesn't head to the San Siro - and Liverpool's Fabio Borini is reportedly next on the list.

The 23-year-old is well down the pecking order at Anfield after the arrival of Balotelli and Rickie Lambert, and looked set for a £14m move to Sunderland, where he spent last season on loan. However, the former Roma and Chelsea forward decided to fight for his place until Liverpool signed a new striker - which has of course now happened.

Borini's best season to date came in Serie A with Roma back in 2011/12, where he hit 10 goals in 26 games - but it's still another sign of the saddening demise of a once great European champion being mismanaged as they look to a Liverpool outcast to replace their star striker.

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