Mario Balotelli is on the brink of a return to the Premier League, with Liverpool agreeing a £16m fee with AC Milan. Balotelli is due on Merseyside to complete the deal. Some have questioned the move, whereas others have applauded it. I am one of the latter: Mario Balotelli will be a hit at Liverpool, and here’s why.
Ever since Luis Suarez left Liverpool, they have needed a striker. Rickie Lambert arrived from Southampton but there is no way that he can fill the void left by the Uruguayan. Daniel Sturridge may have been in great form ever since he joined Liverpool but he needs someone to share the goal scoring load. Loic Remy looked to be the ideal candidate for that role, having scored 14 goals for Newcastle last season and being available for the rather small price of £8m. However, Remy’s move collapsed after a failed medical and Liverpool were still without a striker to accompany Sturridge. Mario Balotelli can fill the void left by Suarez to some capacity. The Italian does not have the stellar goal scoring record that Suarez has, but his record is still impressive. In his two seasons at AC Milan, Balotelli averaged more than a goal every other game, scoring 26 goals in 43 games. During his time at Manchester City, Super Mario scored 20 goals in 54 games, which is slightly less than a goal every other game. During his time in the Premier League, Suarez did have a much superior record, averaging 0.6 goals a game. However, Balotelli did match that average whilst at AC Milan. I’m not saying Balotelli will match Suarez’s record at Liverpool, but he will certainly bag enough goals to ensure that there isn’t too much pressure on Sturridge.
People have questioned Balotelli’s professionalism throughout his career. The 24 year old received four red cards during his time at Manchester City. He was also involved in various incidents on and off the pitch that received lots of attention from the media; the fireworks incident and the ‘why always me?’ t-shirt are just two examples. Some fans have commented that it is ironic that Liverpool are replacing Suarez with Balotelli, due to them both being characters of controversy. Suarez received bans for racism and biting an opponent. Balotelli’s has done nothing on that scale; he was merely involved in a few pranks. Surely if you had the same amount of money that Mario had at 21, you would do the same? Whereas Suarez offended many, Balotelli brings an entertainment factor that you can’t help but be encapsulated by.
At £16m, it’s surely worth the risk. Balotelli has all the potential in the world and has shown at times what he is capable of. He is powerful, clinical, has nerves of steel and can lead the line. Sturridge showed last season that he could form a formidable partnership with Suarez and there is no reason to suggest that he can’t do the same with Mario Balotelli.
I for one am ecstatic to have Super Mario back in the Premier League.