Liverpool have demanded that striker Mario Balotelli guarantees that he won’t step out of line, or agree to meet with financial penalties.
Liverpool are about to solve their striker dilemma as they’ve had a bid accepted by Italian club AC Milan for Mario Balotelli. The ex-City man has had conduct issues in his playing career already and Brendan Rodgers wants to make sure a player who can disrupt dressing room environment is brought in.
James Pearce of Liverpool Echo (close associations with the Merseyside club) write: “Before proceeding with the deal, the manager is keen to ensure that Balotelli is willing to buy into the culture he has created at Anfield. The former Manchester City frontman’s disciplinary problems – both on and off the field – have been well documented and Rodgers doesn’t want anything to disrupt Liverpool’s team spirit. It has been spelt out to Raiola exactly what is expected of Balotelli with clauses in his contract outlining financial penalties if he steps out of line. If those terms are agreed to then Balotelli will travel to Merseyside over the next 48 hours to meet Rodgers face to face and undergo a medical”
Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, travelled to Merseyside for further talks with Liverpool’s chief executive, Ian Ayre, on Thursday after Milan accepted a £16m bid for the 24-year-old. The Italian club quoted a huge loan fee when Liverpool made their initial approach on Wednesday and rejected a proposal that the temporary deal could be terminated should Balotelli step out of line.
The forward seeking £160,000-a-week but is likely to be offered less by Liverpool. It has been widely believed by most Italian and English journalists that Balotelli and the Premier League club will arrive at consensus and he will travel to Merseyside in the next 24 hours.
With the biting, racism, handball controversies, Liverpool have already had a ‘bad-boy’ within the ranks. However, last season, the player’s behaviour was immaculate so there is no doubt as to the ability of the manager and the backroom staff to ensure Balotelli behaves well. Still, it can be understood why the Reds are keen on these measures.
Yesterday, AC Milan had confirmed the news of the player’s departure on their website. It said: Mario Balotelli drove out of Milanello at 13.30 after saying good-bye to his team-mates and the club’s press staff.