For a time, Ajax appeared Mario Balotelli’s last, best hope for finding a new permanent home. Today, it appears the Eredivisie club is no longer an option, as Ajax have instead decided to bring in the promising young Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore on loan.
Previously, as an 18-year-old in the Eredivisie with Vitesse Arnhem, Traore scored 17 goals in 36 appearances. He spent last season back at Chelsea, scoring four goals in 16 games for the Blues. This season, though, more regular minutes has been determined to be key to his development.
That loan, coming with the expectation—an expectation built in part on his success two seasons ago in Holland—that he will be a key player for Ajax, seems to put an end to their reported interest in the unwanted Liverpool striker.
A Traore loan to Ajax is good news for that player and for Chelsea. It is decidedly bad news for Liverpool and, even more so, for Mario Balotelli. For Liverpool and Balotelli, it takes what was likely the most promising remaining option off the table.
The one small silver lining to be found in this ongoing mess of a transfer saga is that over the past week, mid-table Serie A side Chievo have emerged as a potential destination, with both that club’s president and Balotelli publicly signalling their desire to get a deal done.
Wages reportedly remaining a sticking point, but on paper at least it appears a plausible destination. With Ajax looking off the table, hopefully a compromise with Chievo can be reached that benefits all parties.