Five January loan destinations for misfiring Mario Balotelli
Liverpool, 13/2 for a top four finish with Coral, could be open to loan offers for out-of-form forward Mario Balotelli, with the Italy international reported to have already rebuffed the chance of a temporary stint with Greek giants Olympiakos.
Whilst Super Mario could certainly stay put at Anfield for the rest of the season, expected moves in the transfer market may see Balotelli seeking pastures new just months after signing for the Reds.
Here’s where we think the headline-grabbing striker could find a home for the rest of the campaign.
Balotelli and Jurgen Klopp may seem an odd fit at first glance but Dortmund are desperate after slipping dramatically into the Bundesliga drop zone. What better way for the 24-year-old to re-establish himself than by firing the German giants to safety?
Despite current form, Balotelli still possesses undeniable talent and, if fellow larger-than-life character Klopp can nurture the superstar back to top form, it could be a serious coup and perfect short-term fix for the Bundesliga relegation battlers.
Super Mario burst on to the world stage with the Nerazzurri but his three-season stint at the Serie A side was blighted with controversy and off-field shenanigans.
Balotelli has a tempestuous relationship with former and current Inter coach Roberto Mancini, who gave the Italy attacker his Nerazzurri debut before taking the then youngster to Manchester City.
However, the ex-Sky Blues boss could well lose star striker Mauro Icardi this winter window, perhaps paving the way for a homecoming. No doubt all sins would be forgotten by both Mancini and the San Siro faithful if Balotelli returned to goal scoring ways with the black and blue half of Milan, who are 12/1 to win the Europa League.
Tabloids are currently linking Ligue 1 rich kids PSG with a swoop for Balotelli, in an audacious attempt to pair the fiery forward with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
In a mooted move that may see two of world football’s most outspoken strikers reunited, the Parc des Princes side could offer Balotelli a temporary escape from Anfield, with a permanent move thought to be unlikely considering Financial Fair Play rules.
With Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi’s futures supposedly in doubt, Ibrahimovic, who shares the same agent as Balotelli, could be just the mentor to restore his former clubmate’s confidence.
Perhaps the most unlikely destination on this list considering Mauricio Pochettino’s men, 7/2 for a top four finish, are one of the Reds’ direct rivals for a coveted European spot.
Balotelli appears to be somewhat of a misfit at Liverpool, however, and, if he becomes a spare part following Daniel Sturridge’s expected return, Brendan Rodgers may well feel it best to offload the 33-capped Azzurri forward.
Spurs are certainly in need of a ferocious frontman to partner excellent Harry Kane, as Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor continue to disappoint, so a punt on Balotelli could potentially pay dividends.
West Ham United
The Hammers are well-stocked with strikers but, considering Diafra Sakho’s imminent departure for the African Cup of Nations and the possibility that a bigger club could come calling in summer, Balotelli may very well find himself on Sam Allardyce’s radar.
Big Sam is well-known for snapping up big name players who are down on their luck and revitalising careers, just ask latest project Alex Song. Always one for a bargain, the West Ham boss could work wonders with Balotelli, who netted 20 times in 54 Premier League appearances for former side City.