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Mario Balotelli is Running Out of Options

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Ajax appear to be Mario Balotelli’s last, best hope to avoid having his Liverpool contract terminated.

AC Milan v Frosinone Calcio - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

In Italy, a lengthy list of bottom-half clubs have offered to take Mario Balotelli on loan for the year, but to do so they would need Liverpool to continue paying the bulk of his wages. With a year to go on his Liverpool deal and contract termination likely to cost less, that’s not an appealing option.

Rumours of Chinese Super League interest briefly flared up before falling away, with conflicting rumours as to whether it was the player himself or potential buyers who had cooled on a possible move. Meanwhile, nobody in Germany or Spain or England seems the slightest bit interested.

It means that Mario Balotelli is rather quickly running out of potential landing spots. And over the weekend, that list of options got even shorter, with Besiktas coming off the table. Previously, they had been thought to be the most likely Turkish destination for the 25-year-old Italian striker.

Last week, their chairman had even come out to claim both sides were eager to get a deal done—that Besiktas wanted Balotelli and Balotelli wanted Besiktas. For a few days, it seemed an answer had finally been found; a destination secured. Not so fast, said manager Senol Gunes.

“Balotelli isn’t in my plans,” the Besiktas manager told the Turkish press over the weekend when they looked to follow up on the club chairman’s earlier, quite positive, comments. “I don’t have a favourable view of Mario Balotelli. I have never expressed a positive insight into him.”

Which would seem to take Besiktas, who were the only Turkish club still being heavily linked to Mario Balotelli, quite entirely off the table. And which in turn leaves nothing much in the way of options, at least beyond a smattering of rumours of interest in Balotelli from Ajax of all places.

Few would have pegged the Eredivisie side to, as of August 1st, be the most likely—and perhaps the only—potential destination for Balotelli. Surely, many would have thought, the influx of television money might have led a bottom-half Premier League side to take a gamble on him.

Yet here we are. Italy are out. Turkey are out. China are out. Spain and Germany and England were never in. It’s just Ajax left. Hopefully, for the player’s sake, that supposed interest turns into a deal, otherwise we really could be left discussing a contract termination and player release.