Liverpool will lay down the law to Mario Balotelli over what they expect from him as he closes in on a £16million move to Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers’ summer-long search for a top-class striker has led him to Balotelli, the Italy forward who he said two weeks ago would ‘categorically not be at Liverpool’.
However, an about-turn by Rodgers has seen Liverpool agree a deal with AC Milan to sign Balotelli. They initially enquired about taking him for a season but were quoted an exorbitant loan fee.
Liverpool believe the 24-year-old is value for money at £16m, given some of the prices quoted for other strikers who have moved during this window, and have offered him a deal worth £90,000 a week.
Balotelli’s career has been littered with bizarre episodes, such as setting off fireworks in his bathroom, and they want guarantees from him there will be no more erratic behaviour. If Balotelli is not willing to accept, Liverpool would walk away and look at other targets, headed by Samuel Eto’o.
This move, though, comes after Liverpool have done significant research into his character and Rodgers believes Balotelli has the tools to help his side develop in the Barclays Premier League and the Champions League. More significantly, it is felt he will thrive in the environment at Liverpool’s Melwood training base, where Rodgers has built a tightly knit group that is strong enough to cope with the arrival of such a larger-than-life figure.