There is no skirting around the issue, Mario Balotelli endured a shocking debut season as a Liverpool player and most Reds fans will wish to see the back of him, pronto.
However, despite a paltry goals return of four from 28 appearances, the player’s agent insists he will “definitely stay” this summer.
While this news is sure to rile many followers of the Europa League-bound Reds, could there actually be benefits to Balotelli giving it another go at Anfield next season?
The striker is deemed a 1/5 chance to remain on Merseyside by Ladbrokes, and here are five possible reasons why wiping the slate clean may be best for all involved.
Sticking by him will encourage Balotelli to turn it around
The sulky Italian clearly thrives on affection from managers, fellow players and fans alike. If Liverpool extend the olive branch they may be surprised by the response they get from Balotelli.
There are far worse third or fourth striker options
As and when Daniel Sturridge is fit (if ever), and depending on who else joins Divock Origi on the incoming centre-forwards list this summer, it’s likely that Balotelli will not be the first choice at Anfield.
He played as the third-choice striker in Manchester City’s first Premier League-winning side and still supplemented Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko very well with 13 top-flight goals.
With the resource-draining Europa League back on the menu, Rodgers will need options.
Brendan Rodgers needs vindication for his £16m outlay
The beleaguered Reds boss has rightly been accused of squandering money on below-par purchases, so he would dearly love one of the more high profile of them to turn it around.
He is entering his peak years
Ok, stop sniggering. However, by rights this is true as Balotelli will celebrate his 25th birthday just before the commencement of the 2015/16 season.
Having shown his worth in Serie A and previously at the Etihad, it would be Sod’s Law if he suddenly rediscovered his scoring touch for another club such as Sampdoria, where he’s 8/1 to end up.
He’s maturing (slowly)
Apart from the odd, odd instagram photo and accompanying rant, Balotelli’s behaviour on and off the pitch was a far cry from his craziest days down the M62.
The lack of firework explosions in bathrooms and wrestling incidents with Rodgers in training showed Balo may just be leaving his unruliness behind him.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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