Mino Raiola believes that Mario Balotelli will stay at Liverpool this summer, despite previous reports claiming that he’d be one of the first players to leave us when the transfer window opens (via The Guardian).
The £16m summer signing from AC Milan has struggled to make an impact during his first season on Merseyside, making just ten Premier League starts and scoring only one goal, but it now appears as if the Reds will give him another chance (via ITV).
Balotelli, 24, has had his progress this term hugely restricted by fitness problems. He’s also struggled to adapt to playing as a solitary striker, with many critics suggesting that he’s missed playing alongside a partner, who ideally would have been the injury-plagued Daniel Sturridge (via talkSPORT).
His fellow Liverpool strikers – Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert – are also expected to be on their way out before the start of the next season (via the Mirror). We’ve been linked with a number of possible replacements, including Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke (via the Daily Star), but the prospect of missing out on one or more of those targets means that Balotelli could retain a bit-part role.
Speaking about his client’s future this week, Raiola said in quotes taken by ITV: “We have talks with Liverpool and he will stay. I spoke many times with the club and they were happy with his input as a professional.”
Asked whether the striker and manager Brendan Rodgers had adapted to each other over the course of the season, Raiola added: “I think Mario did, I cannot talk for Brendan Rodgers. Obviously we’re pretty confident it’ll happen next year.”