Within a matter of days at the most, and maybe even as soon as a few hours from now, Mario Balotelli is going to become Liverpool's ninth signing of the window. Just how well those new signings will work out will take time to know for certain, but Brendan Rodgers entered the summer looking to quickly build a squad deep enough to handle a return to Europe and another title tilt, and it would be difficult to argue he and the club haven't at least addressed their positions of need.
Alberto Moreno and Javier Manquillo have come in to add youth and quality at fullback. Dejan Lovren has arrived to marshall the defence. Emre Can adds another industrious midfield presence of the kind of Liverpool lacked late last season when Jordan Henderson ended up suspended, and in front of him are Adam Lallana and Lazar Markovic, a pair of flexible attacking midfielders. Throw in Rickie Lambert and now Balotelli, and it's an impressive haul that fills out Liverpool's squad.
Mario Could Finally Be Super at Liverpool
Liverpool are set to make a surprise signing in Mario Balotelli. Could this be the club where the talented Italian finally fulfils his potential?
It's also been done while keeping net spend relatively low, with the sale of Luis Suarez meaning an outlay of less than £40M net. In a summer when the Premier League's new television deal meant Everton were able to spend £28M on Romelu Lukaku that's a quite reasonable sum to have spent on giving Rodgers a two-deep squad at every position. Whether it's the right two-deep squad is another question, and no player brought in will have more questions than Balotelli.
He's only 24 but has failed to stick at Inter Milan, Manchester City, and AC Milan. Jose Mourinho, Rodgers' managerial mentor, proved unable to tame him despite—or perhaps because of—his forceful personality. Roberto Mancini opted for the fatherly approach and couldn't find a way to make things work. Liverpool fans will be convinced that their club and their manager are different, but the fans at each of his previous stops will have said exactly the same things.
The question for today, then, is whether you think Mario Balotelli is in fact the right target for Liverpool to be bringing in? The talent is inarguably there, but so too are the question marks and the fact that he has yet to consistently show he's capable of making good on that talent. The need for a striker is also clearly there, but with the way Liverpool have landed on Balotelli late and after failing to secure their preferred targets it's hard to entirely avoid an air of desperation.
So. Good or bad? Right or wrong? Potential saviour or Brendan Rodgers' undoing? Mark down your vote and, if you're so inclined, let us know your thoughts on the matter in the comments.