There’s no argument that Liverpool are in need of another striker, but taking a risk on Mario Balotelli and signing him from AC Milan might be too big of one, and might end up backfiring for a young manager and team that more or less are on the right path to solidify long term success.
There’s no official word yet (at least at the time these words are being written), but Mario Balotelli has already cleared out his locker and has said his goodbyes. In the Liverpool Echo they’re reporting that the deal is done (£16 million) and all that’s left is waiting for him to arrive at Melwood. Maybe he’ll even be part of the squad that faces Manchester City, a team Balotelli played for during two and a half seasons.
In terms of numbers, when Balotelli gets minutes, he usually scored. He provided 13 goals in 23 matches for Manchester City during their championship season of 2011-2012. He added 26 in 43 league matches for AC Milan, coming at the time of the club’s great decline, although that had more to do with the kind of money being put into the team and not with Balotelli himself, who obviously had his problems.
Nine days after his 24th birthday, Balotelli will be joining his fourth major club since 2010. He has played for Inter, Manchester City and AC Milan. Now he adds another European former giant, hoping to get back on that road again, to his bloated résume. That CV which is filled with goals, a few championships that didn’t always have a lot to do with him, and plenty of problems on and off the pitch.
Balotelli always seems to find his new home, the place he’s always been waiting for when he arrives at a new club. His love affair with everyone involved with the club loses its charm very quickly when the sour faces, the laziness and the frustration kicks in. The red cards, the apathy in some matches and the complete lack of usefulness when he isn’t having a good day in the penalty area.
Character is just as important as ability, maybe even more. Liverpool lost a troublemaker who was a leader and loved by his teammates, supported by the club. They bring in another one who hasn’t had the most successful of summers due to his performance with the Italian national team in the World Cup, and generally isn’t coming in riding an impressive momentum. Brendan Rodgers seems to be yet another one in a long list who believes he’ll be the one who is able to set Balotelli straight. That’s a risk that could derail Liverpool’s season if it isn’t managed right.