How do you solve a problem like Mario?

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[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he fanfare surrounding Mario Balotelli’s £16 million move to Liverpool was incredible. When he arrived from AC Milan expectations were high. He wasn’t going to be a like-for-like Luis Suarez replacement but he would still be able to terrorise opposing defences. That was August, we are now in November and things could not be more different.

The Italian has failed to find the net in his seven league games and has just two goals in 12 overall appearances. That could be forgiven if he was a workhorse, but he is not. Thus far this season he has looked cumbersome on the pitch. Balotelli’s shortcomings have only been exacerbated by Daniel Sturridge’s absence with injury. Showing just how poorly Balotelli is playing at Anfield is his odds of finishing as the top scorer in England; Betfair currently have him at 150/1, by contrast, Charlie Austin of newly-promoted QPR, is 50/1.

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So how can Liverpool solve this problem?

Well the big difference could be Sturridge’s return from injury, which the club expect to be within the next 10 days. With the England international back in the fold he will be able to take over the goal-scoring burden that Balotelli has so far failed with. Having Sturridge as the out-and-out centre forward will allow Mario to occupy a deeper role of the shoulder; a position he is more comfortable with.

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Sturridge coming back should also see Raheem Sterling get back to his best. The winger and Sturridge have an intrinsic knowledge of each other and their intricate passing game carves defences open with ease. With Sterling at full wind and a Sturridge hungry for goals, it is inevitable that Liverpool will start scoring, and when they do Balotelli will be one of the benefactors.

Confidence has never been Balotelli’s problem. He is a player who believes himself to be great, which, on his day, he is. However, his attitude problem is well noted; he was recently in the news for getting into a row about his car. Anyway, the Liverpool management team should consider dropping him. He is already hungry for goals but dropping him from the starting line-up would no doubt make him salivate for them. Rickie Lambert is a proven Premier League goal scorer and would easily fit into the side in the meantime.

Of course, this is all simply hypothetical. There is nothing to suggest that Balotelli will start scoring once c returns or if he is instead relegated to the bench, and if that transpires to be then Brendan Rodgers has a serious problem. Transfer talk in recent days has suggested that Napoli may be interested in acquiring the forward’s services for £10 million. Now nobody at Liverpool wants to see him sold but if he doesn’t start performing, let alone scoring, then Rodgers would have no choice. The money the sale would generate would allow them to move for West Brom’s in-form forward Saido Berahino – a player that most Liverpool fans would take over Balotelli right now.

There is no answer to the Balotelli conundrum. If he doesn’t start scoring however, then his time on Merseyside could be very abrupt.

Sturridge coming back should also see Raheem Sterling get back to his best. The winger and Sturridge have an intrinsic knowledge of each other and their intricate passing game carves defences open with ease. With Sterling at full wind and a Sturridge hungry for goals, it is inevitable that Liverpool will start scoring, and when they do Balotelli will be one of the benefactors.

Confidence has never been Balotelli’s problem. He is a player who believes himself to be great, which, on his day, he is. However, his attitude problem is well noted; he was recently in the news for getting into a row about his car. Anyway, the Liverpool management team should consider dropping him. He is already hungry for goals but dropping him from the starting line-up would no doubt make him salivate for them. Rickie Lambert is a proven Premier League goal scorer and would easily fit into the side in the meantime.

Of course, this is all simply hypothetical. There is nothing to suggest that Balotelli will start scoring once Sturridge returns or if he is instead relegated to the bench, and if that transpires to be then Brendan Rodgers has a serious problem. Transfer talk in recent days has suggested that Napoli may be interested in acquiring the forward’s services for £10 million. Now nobody at Liverpool wants to see him sold but if he doesn’t start performing, let alone scoring, then Rodgers would have no choice. The money the sale would generate would allow them to move for West Brom’s in-form forward Saido Berahino – a player that most Liverpool fans would take over Balotelli right now.

There is no answer to the Balotelli conundrum. If he doesn’t start scoring however, then his time on Merseyside could be very abrupt.

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Balotelli’s Agent: No Contact with Arsene Wenger

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Mario Balotelli’s agent has revealed that it was a mistake to bring the player back to Italy. Balotelli has been one of the best players for AC Milan since his £18 million move from Manchester City in 2013. He has averaged a goal per two matches at San Siro. Despite this excellent record, it looks like he will be sold in the summer.

Balotelli has been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal. Even though Arsene Wenger rejected those speculation, it is still believed that Arsenal will consider making an offer if Milan accept anything close to £25 million. Regarded as one of the most talented players in the world, Balotelli has struggled with consistency in the past. After helping Italy win the opening match against England at the Euro 2014, he was extremely poor the subsequent matches against Costa Rica and Uruguay.

He has been blamed, to an extent, for the group stage exit at the World Cup by the Italians.

Balotelli’s agent, Mino Raiola, accepted that the entire section of Milan fans do not accept the 23-year-old. Due to the player’s character, he feels that he will be best utilised at a club where he is loved. Recently, Milan owner Barbara Berlusconi spoke about Balotelli not being an irreplaceable player.

Yet, Mino Raiola says that he has not held talks with any other club – especially Arsenal – in the last few months. He said: “Maybe it was a mistake to bring Mario back to Italy. For him it is essential to go where he is loved, and at AC Milan some people love him and some do not.”

“I did not go to Brazil for any talks and I have never met Wenger.”

Milan are no longer the force that they once were and Balotelli’s exit will be a confirmation.

Wenger: Arsenal Not Interested in Signing Mario Balotelli

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Mario Balotelli to Arsenal has been one of the sensational transfer rumours of the summer, but Arsene Wenger has put an end to this by stating that Arsenal are not interested in the AC Milan forward. Balotelli is expected to leave Milan in the summer after two years with Italian Serie A outfit. Over the years, Milan have consistently cut down on their budgets and sold a number of stars. Balotelli is seen as one of the important assets the club.

After failing to secure European football for the upcoming season, Milan are set to be under enormous pressure to increase revenues. They are believed to be considering the possibility of selling Balotelli. Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi hinted at the same a few days ago on the club’s official site. He stated that Balotelli is not a player who cannot be replaced. Those statements have intensified the rumours of Balotelli joining Arsenal.

For the first time, Wenger has responded to those claims by stating that Arsenal have no interest in the 23-year-old. According to ESPN, he said: “No — no, that’s pure invention. We cannot believe absolutely everything that is on the internet or is in newspapers. It’s not true.”

Balotelli is expected to cost around £25 million, thus putting him in the region of Arsenal. After winning the FA Cup last season, it is widely believed that Arsenal will kick on with some big signings this summer. So far, the club have been quiet during the off-season.

Balotelli’s Italy were knocked out of the World Cup at the group stages and the player will now be returning home.

Arsenal Transfer News: AC Milan Hint at Balotelli Exit

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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]rsenal have been chasing AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli for the last few weeks and they have been given a major boost with the latest comments of Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi. Berlusconi was a major reason in ensuring that Milan brought back Balotelli to the San Siro, but this time wearing the colours of Milan. Balotelli is a self-confessed fan of AC Milan, but the financial problems at the club could force them into selling the player.

Milan will be without a season of European football after failing to qualify for both Europa League and Champions League last season. This is set to negatively impact the club’s finances. Kaka, who is one of the highest earners at the club, is set to be sold on a free transfer in order to reduce the wage bill. The 32-year-old came to Milan only last summer and he has had only an average impact. Balotelli, on the other hand, has been very important Milan. Despite a very poor campaign for his teammates, Balotelli returned with 14 goals in 30 matches last season.

Yet, Berlusconi has strangely suggested that no player is irreplaceable. He was put forth the speculation about Balotelli leaving the club. According to the official site of Milan, he said: “Balotelli is a great player. But the way I see it, I don’t believe that someone can be irreplaceable. We will see what happens.”

The striker was also noncommittal when asked about his future while on international duty with the Italian team. Balotelli has one goal at the World Cup 2014 and it helped Italy beat England in the opening group match. Balotelli could cost in the region of £25 million.