Liverpool FC may have finally found a way to sell Italian striker Mario Balotelli, as the newspaper Corriere della Sera reports that a deal with the Chinese Super League is on.
Chinese clubs first approached Balotelli’s agent in January, it adds, and with league football about to start again their interest has returned.
It is unclear exactly which team Balotelli could be moving to, but any deal would have to be secured quickly as the Chinese transfer window ends this weekend.
Liverpool paid £14 million ($19 million) for Balotelli back in August 2014, but it proved to be a bad investment. Balotelli has made only 16 Premier League appearances with the team since then and scored just one goal.
Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool’s manager, said it was definitely time for the striker to find a new home:
“I can talk of Mario because that one is obvious and I have spoken to him about this. He’s not at the stage of his career where he should be battling with four or five players for one or two positions. So it’s clear we need a solution. There will be a club who would be happy to have the new Mario Balotelli.”
The situation is something of a comedown for Balotelli, who was one of the Premiership’s most exciting new players when he came to Manchester City in 2010. But he scored just 20 goals in three years at the club, and many thought he was not living up to his potential.
A year-long loan to AC Milan in 2013 proved more fruitful, with 26 goals in just 46 appearances.
Liverpool, meanwhile, is already looking for new players — with a £15 million purchase of Bundesliga’s left-back Jonas Hector reportedly on the cards.