The problem with Liverpool’s decision to purchase Mario Balotelli for £16M and hand the striker £100k per week was always what they would do if Brendan Rodgers couldn’t turn him into the player everyone had spent half a decade hoping he would become.
If he failed at Liverpool it would make it his second English club things hadn’t worked out at, limiting chances of re-selling him domestically. In Italy, meanwhile, he had already been through both Milan clubs and no other big sides seemed interested. And with less cash floating around Serie A, no mid-table sides could afford him.
Spain and Germany always seemed unlikely landing spots. Especially if he failed at a fourth major European club. Certainly the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, and Barcelona wouldn’t be lining up for him—and like in Italy, nobody else who might actually have wanted him could have afforded him.
Then, the Chinese Super League got rich, a major television deal and a push for corporate domestic investment coinciding with a decision by the Chinese government to try to grow the sport from the top down. First, Gervinho, Paulinho, and Ramires moved to China. Demba Ba made a lucrative switch.
Then, they really started throwing money around, with GZ Evergrande paying £31.5M for Jackson Martinez and Jiangsu Suning paying £37.5M for Liverpool's January target Alex Teixeira. With that, Liverpool fans started to wonder if they just might have found a place that could afford to gamble on Mario Balotelli.
According to Il Milanista, they have. The Italian outlet claim that representatives of Jiangsu Suning have approached Balotelli with an offer of £225k per week in wages should he agree to move to China next season. There is little doubt, either, that they could afford to pay Liverpool a significant transfer fee.
It’s unlikely Liverpool would make a profit—and they might still take a small loss on his transfer—but when as recently as last month it looked a certainty they would be subsidizing Balotelli’s wages for another season, getting a solid fee back for him and getting his wages off the books would be a win.