Saturday 3 December 2016

Rodgers never wanted Balotelli

Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30

Brendan Rodgers: 'I felt Mario was someone who wouldn’t work for us. But come the end of the summer, we were struggling to get someone who could do the role we wanted. I think the ownership group thought that this could be a player I could develop'. Photo: Getty
Brendan Rodgers: 'I felt Mario was someone who wouldn’t work for us. But come the end of the summer, we were struggling to get someone who could do the role we wanted. I think the ownership group thought that this could be a player I could develop'. Photo: Getty

Brendan Rodgers has claimed he did not have the last word on transfers at Liverpool, insisting that the club's owners wanted him to turn maverick striker Mario Balotelli from a £16m gamble into a £50m superstar.

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Speaking for the first time since his sacking in October, Rodgers, a guest on Sky's Goals On Sunday show, also spoke of his disappointment at missing out on Alexis Sanchez and Dele Alli.

"What we wanted and what we needed was a player who could really press at the top end of the field," said Rodgers. "It wasn't just a goalscorer we were after. I felt Mario was someone who wouldn't work for us. But come the end of the summer, we were struggling to get someone who could do the role we wanted. I think the ownership group thought that this could be a player I could develop.

"They were thinking that maybe he is a £50m player that we can get for £16m."

Rodgers wanted Alexis Sanchez to fill the void left by the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but he joined Arsenal. "The huge blow for us was we felt we were getting Alexis Sanchez," he said. "We thought Luis was going and he would have been the like-for-like replacement. He would have been perfect for us."

As for 19-year-old Alli, who has broken into the England team since joining Tottenham from MK Dons, Rodgers said: "He wanted to come to Liverpool. We thought we had him in. Then the deal didn't get done between the clubs and eventually he went to Tottenham, which was frustrating and disappointing."

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