As the old saying goes; when one door closes another opens. After having the Liverpool door slammed shut on him though, it’s difficult to tell just who will open theirs for Mario Balotelli this summer.
Jurgen Klopp reached a swift conclusion on Balotelli’s Liverpool future having spent just a week or so working with the striker after the Reds welcomed back several stragglers from around the continent for preseason.
“He’s not at the stage of his career where he should be battling with four or five players for one or two positions,” said Klopp.
“So it’s clear we need a solution. There will be a club who would be happy to have the new Mario Balotelli.”
What Klopp quite means by “new” is difficult to identify, though the choice of words is most probably an unsubtle attempt at a marketing ploy.
Whether he is hinting at a newfound maturity or the detection of some actual work-rate remains to be seen. However, it is easy to forget the striker who has 13 in 33 for Italy and won a Premier League title with Manchester City is only 25.
Surely, his untapped potential should appeal to some fellow Premier League outfits? Here are three who might think about picking up the phone to Klopp…
Just one side scored less Premier League goals than the Baggies last season and no prizes for guessing who that was. With Tony Pulis at the helm, perhaps he could be the first disciplinarian since Roberto Mancini to use their father-like charm to get Balo firing again. The Italian is strong in the air like last season’s top scorer Salomon Rondon and the Black Country outfit could play to his strengths.
Rumours are afoot that the Swans could lose not one, but two of their first-choice frontmen this summer which would leave a crater in the Liberty Stadium striker roster. Even if only one of Bafetimbi Gomis or Andre Ayew ups sticks, there could be worse void fillers to take a chance on.
All was going too swimmingly for promoted Watford last season when Odion Ighalo was bulging nets for fun up until Christmas, ably assisted by striker partner Troy Deeney. Unfortunately, without warning Ighalo’s scoring touch promptly deserted him and the suddenly sting-less Hornets ended up a little too close to the drop zone for comfort. Making provisions to counteract this scenario occurring again should include the signing of a centre-forward.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.