It may have always seemed something of a long-shot, the idea that Mario Balotelli could end up playing for Sampdoria next season. Yet following two rounds of comments by the club owner stating how much he’d like to have the Italian international at the club—to be able to help him get back to his best—the Serie A side was at the least a potential landing spot. They aren’t any more.
Sampdoria’s poor financial standing would have meant it a loan deal rather than a permanent transfer, and Liverpool would have had to pay a portion of Balotelli’s wages to boot, but at the least it would have given the striker playing time. It would have given him the chance to rehabilitate his career after a disastrous season with Liverpool that has left the 24-year-old nigh on unsaleable and with no future at Anfield.
"Cassano and Balotelli are players of extraordinary talent, but we won’t be signing them," said manager Walter Zenga when pressed on rumours linking Balotelli and free agent forward Antonio Cassano with the club. "We have already made three or four buys. There’s Edgar Barreto, Niklas Moisander, Federico Bonazzoli, and Matia Cassani. The club acted quickly in the market and we are building a good squad."
So far, there has been no reported interest in taking Balotelli back amongst Italy’s more financially stable sides, and with no likely landing spot for him in England, Spain, or Germany, it’s already possible to imagine a scenario where Liverpool end up stuck with him—and the player ends up stuck at Liverpool. It’s a situation the club had to have known was a possibility when they paid £16M for the striker last summer.
It’s maybe even the most likely outcome, as even at the time it was clear that Balotelli was an awkward fit for a Brendan Rodgers side. And that was even if he played at his best, rediscovering the talent that had for a time made him one of the brightest attacking prospects in football. Now, having failed at yet another club, Liverpool find themselves with an expensive player nobody wants to pay for.
They have nobody but themselves to blame, and while the signings of Roberto Firmino, James, Milner, and soon Nathaniel Clyne have helped to show at least that this summer—so far—the club are on the right transfer track.
- Hard Man Skrtel Reveals Inner Pain, Will Use it to Improve on Last Season's Results
- The Week in Comments: "Stick to your guns, Villa."
- Lucas Aiming to Help Firmino Settle at Liverpool
- Nathaniel Clyne to Secure Move from Southampton to Liverpool with Monday Medical
- Watch: Philippe Coutinho vs. Paraguay