Following another disappointing outing for AC Milan that saw the home supporters jeer him, reports in Italy suggest there is no chance the Serie A club will choose to trigger Mario Balotelli’s purchase option this summer and will be happy to see the 25-year-old striker return to Anfield.
According to Calcio Mercato, Milan have informed Liverpool that they have no interest in keeping Balotelli beyond the end of the current season even if the Reds were to offer him at a cut-rate price. This follows his appearance off the bench on Sunday against Lazio that saw fans boo his introduction. The match ended a draw.
Meanwhile, according to the Liverpool Echo’s sources at Anfield, the striker isn’t wanted by new manager Jürgen Klopp, meaning that while he will return, he is not expected to be given another chance to impress at Anfield and the goal will be to send him off again—either on loan or permanently—as quickly as possible.
With no significant interest in the player in England or Italy, Liverpool are likely to be forced into another loan while heavily subsidizing his wages. Despite Balotelli’s talents, his struggles to settle at any club always meant this was a depressing but entirely likely outcome following his £16M purchase two summers ago.
There are simply no big money clubs in Europe left willing to gamble on Balotelli ever coming good for Liverpool to find a willing buyer who can afford him. And, with a contract at Liverpool that runs through the summer of 2018, Liverpool could be stuck paying his wages for another two seasons.
The only way they’re likely to get out of that is if they can find a willing buyer in the Chinese Super League. There was some suggestion of interest from China in January, but despite Milan’s willingness to terminate his loan should a permanent home be found, that never amounted to anything more than rumours.
So far this season at Milan, Balotelli has made 16 appearances and scored three goals in all competitions, with only one goal coming in league play. Between injuries and his struggles to convince Milan coaches he’s a player they can rely on, he has only seen 562 minutes of action in total this season.