Whether one blames the player being a bad fit for the club or the club not trying especially hard to find a way to best utilize his talents, it seems fair at this point to label Mario Balotelli’s first season at Liverpool a massive disappointment. It also seems likely that, at least if an acceptable offer arrives in the summer, he won’t get the chance at a second.
After arriving for £16M following a number of misses in the market and with Liverpool desperate to fill the void left by Luis Suarez, Balotelli has appeared in 25 games—but only started eight—and scored four goals. Suggestions he hasn’t worked hard don’t match up with his actual performances, but irregardless of workrate and effort, the reality is he simply hasn’t been a good fit. Not with his teammates, and not for what manager Brendan Rodgers wants him to do.
Serie A side Sampdoria, though, could be ready to offer a way out of a situation that clearly isn’t working for any party, as the Italian club’s president has told the world he wants to bring Balotelli back home this summer. Sampdoria currently stand sixth in Serie A, but with only a point separating the fourth, fifth, and sixth—and fourth and fifth qualifying for the Europa League—there is a solid chance they will be able to offer European football next term.
"I want him," Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero insisted, speaking on Gazzetta dello Sport during a live, in-studio interview on Monday night. "He’d be the real Balotelli again here—he wouldn’t have too much pressure in Genoa. He’s lost his hunger [at Liverpool] and he’s earning too much. If he only got bread and water and not Ferraris, he’d be a champion again."
While bread, water, and a vow of poverty might not actually be Balotelli’s best chance of restarting his stalled career, it does seem likely he will have to move on from Liverpool to have a chance. And if Ferrero wants to back up his words with a solid transfer offer, chances are Liverpool would be more than happy to have him move on at this point, too.