When Mario Balotelli joined Liverpool FC nearly a year ago, it was at a cut rate price at half the salary he was earning at AC Milan. Twelve months later the risk worth taking hasn't worked out for Liverpool or the Italian striker, but their remains the issue of a meddlesome little thing called a contract that keeps the two parties legally bound despite the relationship having not worked out.
One minor detail about that contract is that Balotelli has a series of escalators and bonuses built into it, no doubt negotiated by his manager Mino Raiola as a direct result of the massive reduction in wages. Though the player's contract is only three years long — with a fourth to be optioned by Liverpool should things miraculously turn around for Balotelli — Balotelli is set to earn a six-figure loyalty bonus if he is still a Liverpool player at the end of the transfer window, according to the Guardian and several other outlets.
It wouldn't be a Mario Balotelli story without #narrative, of course, and so the mere possibility of this bonus being paid out has triggered commentary about the player being more interested in money than playing time, not unlike his fellow outcasts Jose Enrique and Fabio Borini. Unlike Borini, Balotelli hasn't actively spurned a move to several other clubs due to his wage demands, but that hasn't stopped many from putting forth the proposition that the unfortunate striker is trying to stick around Liverpool for at least a few more weeks so that he can collect that big fat bonus.
The unfortunate truth for both Balotelli and those wishing to see the back of him sooner rather than later, there simply haven't been any serious offers for the Italian services that would lead to a permanent move away from Merseyside. Balotelli's loyalty bonus is likely to be activated by the simple fact that he's unwanted elsewhere, and holding it against the player as if he's purposely avoiding a move seems more than a bit unfair.