Here is a record of Mario Balotelli’s Liverpool season to date:
16 Premier League appearances – 1 goal
28 appearances in all competitions – 4 goals
Of all of the Premier League strikers to have scored this season, only three – Sone Aluko, Marouane Chamakh and Yoan Gouffran need more minutes to find the target in the top-flight, while 10-goal Leonardo Ulloa and 11-goal Papiss Cisse have reached their tallies despite firing in fewer shots than the Italian across the campaign.
This is not the sort of return that Brendan Rodgers could have even considered in his worst nightmares ahead of forking out £16m to AC Milan for Balotelli in August.
Yet Rodgers does seem to have been given a way out if comments on Naples station Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli are to be taken at face value.
In an interview, eccentric Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero stated: “If it were up to me, I would buy him immediately.”
The next question has to be whether Sampdoria have any assets that Liverpool would want in some form of exchange for their misfiring Italian.
Roberto Soriano would form good symmetry with Jordan Henderson if a midfield diamond was ever employed, with the Italian international known to be dynamic, involved at both ends of the field and more at home in a left-of-centre position.
He has also been on the radar of Manchester City previously.
Joaquin Correa is another Argentine to emerge on the conveyer belt of creative attacking midfielders and has been praised by none other than Juan Sebastian Veron previously.
He only signed in December, but remains only on the fringes of the first team. Maybe Rodgers could have a Philippe Coutinho mark II on his hands, albeit one who is slightly taller with an under-the-radar turn of pace similar to that of Kaka?
As for defenders, it is young Roma loanee Alessio Romagnoli that has set pulses racing the most, especially given comparisons to Alessandro Nesta, while Luis Muriel is the most sought-after attacker, even if still to fulfil the potential that he promised after a debut season with Udinese that saw the Colombian crowned Serie A young footballer of the year.
It is unlikely that Liverpool would even recoup half of their Balotelli outlay if selling him to Sampdoria, especially given their tendency to take players on loan.
However, there are options open to Rodgers should Balotelli now be deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield, even following the news that Daniel Sturridge’s latest injury will keep him sidelined into next season.
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