Liverpool’s Mario Balotelli has been told to leave Anfield by Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero.
Ferrero has voiced his belief that a transfer to the Stadio Luigi Ferraris would be the best option for the Italy international at present, as it is here that he would have the opportunity to rediscover his goalscoring form that has been effectively absent in his Reds career so far:
“Balotelli is a great player,” as quoted by Goal.
“At Sampdoria he would have the opportunity to relaunch his career in a city where he would have less pressure.
Nonetheless, the Italian chief has stated that the forward would have to take a significant pay cut if he wishes to join the Serie A outfit.
“I like him so much, but I heard he earns €10m-a-year at Liverpool, while here he would have to settle for €1m.”
Sampdoria’s interest in Balotelli may have emerged as a consequence of former Chelsea striker Samuel Eto’o – who despite signing a two-and-a-half year contract with the Serie A side only in January this year [via the Independent] – joining Turkish outfit Antalyaspor earlier this month [via the Daily Mail].
While Balotelli is linked with an exit, the Reds, according to talkSPORT, are closing in on a deal for Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke, with the Merseyside giants said to be currently negotiating the possibility of a structured payment for the Belgian – who has a release-clause of £32.5m.
Despite discussions over the 24-year-old’s transfer still ongoing, the report states that Benteke’s medical is scheduled for Monday, suggesting that the club are confident that his signature can be secured before the start of the 2015-16 campaign.
The Belgium international’s possible arrival, therefore, will likely leave Balotelli – who made just 10 Premier League starts last season – even more distant from Rodgers’ first-team.
David Anderson, journalist for the Daily Mirror, believes that Benteke will become the Reds’ leading centre-forward if he arrives – even upon Daniel Sturridge’s return from injury – with the club’s Northern Irish manager wanting to establish a 4-3-3 formation.
Benteke would thus likely be joined by Sturridge and new summer signing Roberto Firmino [via BBC Sport] on either flank in attack.