With no obvious permanent suitors, the case of Mario Balotelli has rather taken a place on the back burner since Liverpool headed to the United States to continue their pre-season preparations, leaving Balotelli back at Anfield.
Yet behind the scenes, work has continued to find the 25-year-old Italian striker a home, and Besiktas might just have emerged as frontrunners for Balotelli’s services after the club president came out claiming it’s move both the player and the Turkish club want to see happen.
“I would love to see him join the team,” president Fikret Orman was quoted as saying by Turkey sports outlet Fanatik today. "I think that the interest in Turkey from bringing him here would be great. In short, we want him and he wants to come here.”
Orman further admitted that the only reason his club likely had a shot at a player of Balotelli’s talent at his age was because of his reputation as a trouble-maker, but he’s convinced that Besiktas can help him to rehabilitate both his image and his career.
It’s a similar argument to the one put forward by any number of bottom-half Serie A sides who have said they would be happy to take Balotelli on loan for a year. The real question will be whether Besiktas can afford to pay the bulk of his £90k per week wage.
Liverpool appear to have accepted a permanent move is unlikely, and there has even been talk of terminating the player’s contract. With just a year left to go in his current deal, a loan wouldn’t be about increasing Balotelli’s value for an eventual sale.
It would be purely about getting his wages off the books. If Besiktas are willing to pay more of those wages than Liverpool would save by terminating his contract—and paying a portion of his owed wages in a lump-sum—then this could be a move we’ll soon see happen.
If not, Orman’s talk of wanting Balotelli and of the player wanting Besiktas will go down like all the other recent talk of clubs that wanted to take the striker on but at the end of the day weren’t willing to pay hardly anything to do so.