According to recent reports Mario Balotelli to Liverpool is all but a done deal for a fee of 16 million pounds (20 million euros, $26.5 million). For those who remember Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool vehemently denied this possible deal about a month ago so it comes as a little bit of a surprise that this deal has come to fruition. However, the ending of the summer transfer window has a funny way of expediting seemingly dead deals and this is just one example of the many times teams have denied deals only to engage in them after their desperation had grown as the transfer window began to close. Liverpool have been in desperate need for a striker ever since Suarez had left and the recent Southampton game showed how frail they were up top. When they needed a second striker to bring on in the second half against Southampton they brought on Rickie Lambert ,who they only brought in as a a “Plan B” striker, in a situation where they didn’t need a “plan B” striker but a game changer. It had become clear that they needed another striker to both team with Sturridge and back him up, as he has shown a propensity for injuries during his career.
There were quite a few names tossed around this summer such as Radamael Falcao, Samuel Eto’o, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Mario Balotelli, and Edison Cavani. Samuel Eto’o at 33 years old would be, at best, a bandaid in case Sturridge is ever injured. Radamael Falcao would have been a world-class player who would have demanded high wages and was rumored to only want a loan deal so he could jump to Real Madrid next season. Ezequiel Lavezzi is a wide attacking player which Liverpool do not need since they have Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling. Which would leave Edison Cavani and Mario Balotelli as the best two options for Liverpool. It seems as though Mario Balotelli is the cheaper option and AC Milan was more willing to let him leave which is probably why Liverpool went ahead and signed him. Liverpool cannot afford for the transfer window to end without them getting a high quality forward to pair with/backup Daniel Sturridge. Juventus was reportedly in the lead to sign Falcao and there were no guarantees PSG would let go of Edison Cavani because of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s recent injury. Therefore, in order for Ian Ayre to avoid the same criticism he faced when he missed on Yevhen Konoplyanka on the last day of the winter transfer window he needed to make sure he signed a quality striker before the transfer window closed. Mario Balotelli was the surest bet.
At 24 years old he has the youth that Liverpool seek in their transfer targets and has shown that he has the quality to step into the Premier League and score goals. The only knock on him, and it is a big one, is his immaturity and disciplinary problems. He was forced out of Manchester City by Roberto Mancini because he was fined so many times by the club and acted out too much. This is the main reason Liverpool fans are wary of this signing. Luiz Suarez was a huge headache because of his actions on the field and fans are fearful that Mario Balotelli will bring the same headaches and further sully the good name of Liverpool FC. The concern is a valid one but it is one that must be temporary ignored at this juncture. It is highly possible Mario Balotelli turns out to do more harm than good. Nevertheless, bringing him in is a necessary risk. At his price he is one of the cheaper top-tier strikers in the market, especially since he already has a proven track record in the English Premier League. That, coupled with the fact that Brendan Rodgers has shown that he is a good man manager, means that Liverpool and Rodgers may be able to get the best out of Mario Balotelli. If Liverpool cannot then they are buoyed by the fact that next year Divock Origi comes back from loan and they can get rid of Mario Balotelli. In order for Liverpool to achieve greatness this season they need another quality striker and they found that in Mario Balotelli. Now they just need to keep the ticking time bomb that is Super Mario from ever-exploding. For all of his disciplinary problems at least he never bit another player… three times.