Earlier today, rumour mongers in Italy linked Mario Balotelli with both Everton and Manchester United, a pair of rumours good mainly for a chuckle. And given the Balotelli saga has now drawn on almost the entire summer and the 26-year-old striker is still stuck at Anfield, that chuckle seemed about the most we could hope for today.
Now, though, comes word from Switzerland that FC Sion are not only interested in Mario Balotelli—they say they’re negotiating to sign him. And this isn’t just rumours and speculation. No, this time around it’s the club owner who has come out to confirm a deal is being worked on. Still, it’s almost certain no deal is going to get done.
“I can confirm that we are speaking,” FC Sion president Christian Constantin told Ticio News earlier today when asked about his club’s chances of signing the ex-Inter, AC Milan, Manchester City and soon to be Liverpool striker. “Negotiations are under way, though for now of course I cannot know it will succeed or not.”
And that, of course, is the rub. Plenty of Serie A mid- and lower-table sides have spoken about their desire to sign Balotelli, but none could in the end afford it. With Sion, the situation is likely to be similar, and even if Liverpool forgo a transfer fee to get Balotelli off their books this summer, Sion would likely not be able to afford his wages.
For a bit of context, TransferMarkt estimates the total value of Sion’s current squad at €34M, and the club's record signing was Kleber Pereira, who they paid €2M for back in 1996. In the past five seasons, they have only paid more than €1M for a player on just three occasions. Last season, they finished fifth in the ten-team Swiss Super League.
If Liverpool fans thought Italy’s FC Crotone were a stretch to land a player of Balotelli’s talent and wage packet—even with his history and status on the fringes at Liverpool—then Sion are the Swiss FC Crotone and in truth an even less likely landing spot. Unless Liverpool are willing to agree a free transfer and Balotelli takes a 90% pay cut.
If that’s the case, then sure, Constantin might well be successful in his negotiations for the player. If it isn’t, though, then this seems likely nothing more than another case of a club attaching themselves to the Mario Balotelli transfer rumour train despite the fact that there’s almost no chance of a deal ever actually getting done.