Liverpool/Balotelli/Bologna – The Best Short-Term Solution?


Many a footballing observer would have told you last summer that Mario Balotelli’s move to Liverpool wasn’t going to go to plan.

Most probably didn’t envisage that the deal would turn quite as sour as quickly as it has though. The Italian international never enjoyed a honeymoon period at Anfield or even a golden patch of form.

The transfer sniffed like a panic buy from the off.

Obviously Liverpool needed striking reinforcements as they prepared to replace mercurial talent Luis Suarez. They tried and failed to lure Alexis Sanchez to England’s north-west.

Then suddenly Balotelli was the main target as the club’s transfer committee struggled to find viable options.

There’s no doubt that Mario has an amazing natural talent. Before joining Liverpool, Balotelli had enjoyed a decent scoring record of eighty-eight goals in two hundred and twenty-two matches. All that before he was in his mid-twenties.

But in Merseyside, the striker could only manage a miserly four goals in twenty-eight appearances.

In truth Mario Balotelli was only going to succeed with the ‘Reds’ if the team was set-up with him as the focal point. But alas Brendan Rodgers was never going to change his sides tactics just to accommodate the twenty-four year old hitman.

To be fair to Rodgers you can see his point of view. No player should be bigger than the club’s footballing philosophy and Balo has a long record of disruption and petulance.

Rodgers likes his frontmen to work hard for the team and press further up the pitch when the team don’t have the ball. Those aren’t ideas that suit Mario’s style as he prefers to be more direct.

The Liverpool boss stated earlier this year that Mario was struggling to adapt his game:

“Working with Mario, we’ve seen that he is someone who is better in and around the box. That level of pressing and intensity is not part of his game.”

Now many of us could have said as much before Liverpool forked out £16m for his services last year.

I seriously doubt Mario was ever really enthused about returning to England. He complained about the country throughout his time at Manchester City and looked overjoyed when he was paraded as an AC Milan player in 2013.

Given the fact that the forward has missed Liverpool’s tour of the Asia/Australia and has also been omitted from the first-team’s trip  to Finland, it certainly looks like there is no way back for Mario at Anfield.

That has alerted a few clubs back in his homeland.

It’s been widely reported that Liverpool could do a cut-price deal of just £7m for the Italian striker.

Newly promoted Serie A side Bologna could be an ideal destination, but only if a deal can be agreed. I doubt they’d be able to afford the full £7m fee this summer or match his lucrative wage packet for that matter but maybe a deal could still be done. Possibly a £2m season long loan with a £5m option to buy at the end of the campaign? Plus I Rossoblu could pay a slice of his wage this season as well.

Now that probably isn’t the offer Liverpool would have hoped for but it may be the best that they get this summer. It seems no club wants to be laboured with the player on a full-time basis at the moment and want to see him settle in at their club first. I can only see a permanent deal being done this transfer window if Liverpool and the striker both agree to lowering their demands.

A move to the Emilia-Romagna club could work out well for the attacker. It will give him a stage to perform on and show the world that he isn’t washed up or too much bother.

If he can get his head down and score for Bologna and help keep them in the Italian top flight then that will give him the chance to prove to national team manager Antonio Conte that he is worthy of a place in his Euro 2016 squad. The striker certainly needs to do something to convince Conte he’s worth a place in the Azzurri selection.

After taking charge of the Italian national team, Antonio Conte said this about Mario:

“I’m not so arrogant as to claim that I’m different from the great coaches, but the past tells us that they failed to change Balotelli,’

 ‘It’ll be up to the player, but I don’t have much time and I need certain things.’

Maybe a season at a club in the lower reaches of Serie A can at least show the Italian manager that Balotelli can at least has a willingness to try and adapt.

Being the hero and the main man at Bologna could give Mario a sense of pride and purpose. That may see him settle down, even if it’s just slightly!

If he’s waiting for a huge club to come in and take a gamble on him, then he could be waiting forever. The player is running out of chances, even his agent (Mino Raiola) knows that.

For some inspiration, Mario Balotelli should take a look at the 1997-98 Serie A season. In that year, a distinguished Italian international striker arrived at Bologna. He too was considered high maintenance and not worth the hassle. But during that season at the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, Roberto Baggio scored a whopping twenty-two league goals in thirty Serie A outings. He was then included in the Azzurri’s 1998 World Cup squad and would join Internazionale in a big deal later on in 98.

The benefits for Bologna in signing Mario on loan are obvious. They’d be getting an extremely talented hitman, who should be hungry to prove himself and be determined to help the club secure the highest possible league finish.

The Italian city, is a university city and as such may cause distractions for Signor Balotelli. But let’s face it, Mario could find a distraction in an empty cupboard.

The forward has become a sideshow act at Anfield. The move has been a disappointment for all involved.

The quicker they can part ways the better. Maybe just maybe the Italian misfit can find his way at a smaller club and finally let his footballing ability do the talking!

Mario Balotelli’s next chapter will be a defining one, so he better make it count in his favour!

One Response to “Liverpool/Balotelli/Bologna – The Best Short-Term Solution?”

  1. The major problem is that the player was given a long term agreement and very high wages

    Now Liverpool will have to pay 4 million a year until his agreement runs out

    Why on Earth help the lazy ….. by getting him another Club and paying out all the many millions he will get for the NeXT 3 years

    Others have taken a reduction in their wages to play foorball
    Let him rot alone for the next 3-4 years. unless he accepts a serious reduction in his salary

    Jesus wept. 5% of 4 million would still give him 40 thousand pound a year. Much more than the average Income in Europe

    Let him rot as long as he insists upon 4 million a year

    His countryman Bolini is another of same type
    A year ago he was offered regular first team football and Liverpool,would have got 14 m for him

    He preferred to sit on his arse and take all the Money
    Liverpool paid his wages for a year and his value fell by over 50%.

    Two who have sponged and cost LVC big Money.

    Two lazy and greedy b……..

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