Mario Balotelli’s first season at Anfield probably didn’t go quite as the Liverpool striker would have hoped when he signed for Liverpool last summer.
4 goals in 24 appearances. That’s the entirety of Balotelli’s production during the 2014-15 season, across all competitions. Given his fairly hefty price tag — $24 million — Brendan Rodgers, and Liverpool fans alike, probably expected more out of the 24-year-old.
That has led to widespread speculation that Balotelli would leave the club this summer, making what would have been his third transfer in three seasons. Not so fast, though, says Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola.
According to Raiola, Balotelli “will definitely stay” at Liverpool this summer and fight for his place — and career, perhaps — when the 2015-16 season kicks off in August.
Raiola, on Balotelli’s transfer status, from the Telegraph:
“No. We had talks with Liverpool and he will definitely stay.”
“I think Mario did adapt. I can’t talk about Brendan Rodgers, obviously that is something for Brendan, but I think Mario did.
“I have spoken at various times to the club and they were happy with his input and professionalism. Obviously we have to improve the performance but I am really confident that will happen this year.”
The impending arrival of Divock Origi, the Belgian breakout star at last summer’s World Cup, makes the forward position(s?) at Anfield just a bit crowded, considering Daniel Sturridge will also be looking to rebound from another injury-plagued season, and continued transfer rumors regarding other strikers, including Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke.
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Had Balotelli been shopped around this summer by Liverpool or his agent, the list of suitors would likely have been short and undesirable, given his disappointing 2014-15 season. Perhaps a decent start to next season would be enticing to the handful of clubs who could afford Balotelli’s wages and find themselves desperate for a striker in January.
Whether Balotelli is involved in the dealings or not, this summer is shaping up to be a fast and furious transfer window all around the world. In case you were wondering, the 2015-16 Premier League season kicks off in 72 days.