Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been talking up the performances of Mario Balotelli during pre-season training, despite having no interest in keeping the wayward star at Anfield.
The Italian striker has made just 16 Premier League appearances, scoring one goal, since joining Liverpool in August 2014 for £16m.
He spent last season on loan AC Milan last season, but struggled to make an impact at the San Siro and with Klopp not interested in keeping him at Anfield, it will be interesting to see where super-agent Mino Raiola ships Super Mario off to next.
In the meantime, Balotelli has joined Klopp’s first-team squad for pre-season training, and the Liverpool boss has been impressed by Balotelli’s application and talent in training.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp said:
“Since he has been back here, he’s been a good guy and I can’t say anything different than that. It’s not that he’s come back and said: ‘who’s the boss, I’m the boss, no sorry it’s you’. It’s not been that at all.
“Everything’s been good, it’s all OK, and now he’s here we will do everything we can to get him fit.
“When we have done the crossing, heading and stuff (in training), he’s been world class. But this is not a situation where he should be battling with other players like this for one position so it’s clear we need a solution.
“There will be a club around who would be happy to have a new Mario Balotelli if you like.
“I have spoken clearly to the player about that. I know we can’t talk about a lot of things because one agent says ‘we want to stay’, and another says ‘we have had 10 offers so we have to leave’.
“But in this case it’s obvious. It’s now time to make decisions and I try to help Mario to get in the best shape he can be in and we will see what happens.”
No surprise that Klopp does not want Balotelli. He is not his kind of player. But after failing in England and Italy, what is the next destination for the 25-year-old striker? Can Raiola find a club in Spain or Turkey willing to pay his hgih wages, or could be join the movement of players to China?