Parma president says his club was close to signing Mario Balotelli

2 Comments

Relegation-threatened Parma, currently buried at the bottom of the Serie A table, nearly got a big boost in the transfer window, according to the president of the club.

“We were very close to the purchase of Mario Balotelli,” Ermir Kodra told Albanian channel TV SuperSport, “but we could not close the deal.”

Kodra did not describe the reason behind the collapse of the deal, but it’s not hard to speculate what that might be. With Parma sitting on a measly nine points from nineteen matches, they are a full nine back of safety, and the likelihood of relegation is a very real possibility. It’s highly doubtful that a player of Balotelli’s caliber, even given his struggles recently, would ever accept a transfer there knowing the high chance of being forced to play in Serie B next season.

That’s made things tough on Kodra this January as he looks for reinforcements. “We are working with all our strength to save the team from relegation. It is difficult but not impossible,” he said.

Kodra might want to focus more on his defense, considering the club has conceded a whopping 41 goals across 19 matches so far, two more than anyone else in Serie A, nine more than any club currently in a safe position, and 32 more than leaders Juventus.

Financial reasons also could be a factor in securing a player like Balotelli. The club was docked a point in December for unpaid wages, and very likely could not afford a player of Balotelli’s caliber simply because they couldn’t justify his wages. This leaves his claim of coming “very close” to this transfer somewhat difficult to sink in.

There have been rumors of Balotelli’s early exit from Liverpool, having just signed this past summer but failing to make any significant impression at Anfield. He hasn’t started a game since November, racking up just 71 minutes since his last appearance in the starting XI. A return to Serie A has been heavily suggested, with Lazio the most recently mentioned name.