Following two disappointing seasons on the books at Liverpool, 26-year-old striker Mario Balotelli has today completed a permanent transfer to Ligue 1 side Nice where he will attempt to salvage his career. The striker moves to France on a free transfer, with Liverpool’s main gain that they have removed his wages from their books.
There had been some confusion earlier in the day over whether Balotelli would be moved on permanently or if it would be a loan as he saw out the final year of his Liverpool deal. There was even for a time some suggestion Nice might pay a transfer fee. This confusion came from the fact the clubs continued to negotiate throughout the day.
The bad news in all of this for Liverpool is that they will not make anything back on their initial £16M investment, and that if Balotelli does go on to find success in France, they will not see any profit for it. However, with no transfer fee, Nice have been able to provide Balotelli with a higher wage than they might otherwise have been able to.
That means that at least Liverpool will not now have to subsidize Balotelli’s wages or pay off a portion of the final year of his Liverpool contract. It’s a free transfer; the club and player cutting all ties cleanly as he heads to France. It’s a disappointing end for all involved, but then the truth is that it’s the ending that was always most likely.
For all the reports of past bad behaviour, Balotelli kept his head down at Liverpool. It just never looked likely to work out for him—he was a poor fit for the club stylistically, and was not favoured by Brendan Rodgers. By the time Jürgen Klopp arrived, the writing was on the wall. We wish him luck in rediscovering his talent with Nice.