A signing saga that's been incredibly news-worthy has only gotten moreso with this newest bit of information: Not only has Mario Balotelli agreed to a cut in his wages to sign for Liverpool, he's taking a stunning 50% hit to his wages to do so.
It's a huge gesture as to Balotelli's commitment to the squad, even if the striker will still be making a pretty dang healthy amount of money. Especially given that Liverpool's pursuit for a new striker has been held back by the wage demands of their targets, finding someone willing to take lower wages to make the deal work is huge, especially when that striker has the raw talent of Balo.
It's believed that there will be incentives and bonuses worked in to his contract that would allow Balotelli to make up the difference between the deals, which serves as further confirmation that the mercurial striker seems willing to put in the work needed to be successful at Anfield. If he wants to make the most money he can, he'll need to keep his head screwed on straight and play at his best; if he doesn't behave and play well, he won't get starts, and without enough playing time there's no way he'll make his incentives.
This deal is also a sign that Balotelli's agent, Mino Raiola, is not exactly the cash-hungry power-monger that many make him out to be. People love to hate on agents, saying that they just want to move their clients around for their own financial benefit and only care about the size of their clients' paychecks, and by extension their own. In some cases, that's certainly true, but that's not the case with Raiola.
While Raiola has certainly engineered a number of high-profile deals that have made him a very wealthy man, there's also been a common theme among many of his deals: he consistently finds his client a better situation that fits them better and brings a better chance of long-term success than where they previously were. Just look at Balotelli: when things went sour at Manchester City, Raiola got Balotelli back home in Milan, and for a time things looked great.
Then AC Milan fell apart, and so to did Balo's relationship with the fans. Now Raiola has his client poised to join a manager and club situation that, on the surface at least, stand an excellent chance of giving Balotelli the stability and support he needs to be successful. Putting together a deal of this structure increases the risk for his client, but also serves as a not-so-subtle nudge from Raiola to shape up or shut up.
It's also a smart deal to take for Liverpool; a lower-base, incentive driven deal significantly lowers the financial risk from their side of the equation. If Balotelli plays excellently, they won't care that he's hitting every incentive, they'll just be raking in the wins, and hopefully the trophies as well. If he doesn't, then at least he won't be hurting the wage bill nearly as much as he could be. This deal is looking better and better all the time for Liverpool.
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