Date: 30th July 2015 at 9:06am
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Newly-promoted Serie A side Bologna are reportedly interested in taking maverick striker Mario Balotelli back to Italy…

Despite, as per usual, filling plenty of column inches this summer, there has so far been little in the way of concrete approaches for unwanted Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli.

The Italian international, who had an extended off-season due to a family bereavement, was omitted from the club’s pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia as the Reds stepped up their efforts to offload the polarising striker.

However, continued murmurings of a move to Sampdoria have proved unfounded, while a fanciful approach from Serie C minnows Lupa Castelli merely smacked of a publicity stunt.

Now though a plausible option, in the shape of a loan move to newly-promoted Serie A side Bologna, could finally be about to present itself after the club’s director of sport Pantaleo Corvino expressed an interest.

“I would take him, he would be highly motivated here,” revealed Corvino to the Corriere dello Sport. “Of course, Bologna have to respect certain financial parameters, but for the right price I would even look at the possibility of buying him outright.”

According to the Daily Express, that price could be less than half of the £16m Liverpool shelled out on Balotelli just 12 months ago.

A loan move remains more likely though with the Liverpool ECHO suggesting the Merseysiders are willing to substantially supplement the 24-year-old’s wages to help facilitate a temporary switch.

Balotelli, who managed just four goals in 28 appearances last season, is surplus to requirements at Anfield after the recent additions of Christian Benteke and Danny Ings, plus Divock Origi‘s delayed arrival from Lille.

Fellow frontmen Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini are also up for sale and the former’s proposed moved to West Bromwich Albion is looking increasingly likely after Baggies boss Tony Pulis talked up the possibility.

“It’s very important that we get players who will score goals,” remarked the ex-Crystal Palace and Stoke City chief. “Rickie’s got a great goalscoring record.

“From what I can gather from people at Liverpool his fitness levels are very, very good, and he is desperate to play football.

“He didn’t play last year, so it’s like bringing a brand new car out of the garage if we did sign him.

“Just putting a bit of petrol in it and letting it run.”

Lambert, who was mainly restricted to cup and substitute outings following a £4m move from Southampton, scored three goals in 36 appearances last term.

Vital Comment
With so many incomings this summer attention has rightly shifted to getting rid of some of the deadwood. In terms of the nomadic Balotelli, only the media are likely to be sad to see him depart our shores once again. His move to Liverpool has proven to be a disaster and, with numerous more suitable options now available, the club are right to try and offload him, even at a substantial loss. Dealing with ‘Super Mario’ has driven better and more experienced managers than Brendan Rodgers to despair so there is no shame in admitting defeat. We were backed into a corner and he was worth a punt.


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