Friday 28 October 2016

Balotelli for Newcastle? Panto season begins

Published 04/07/2015 | 02:30

Mario Balotelli of Liverpool
Mario Balotelli of Liverpool

Not looking to discourage Steve McClaren in any way of course, but the story that Newcastle might be looking to 'rescue' Mario Balotelli from his Liverpool struggles surely takes transfer speculation to the realm of back-page pantomime

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Balotelli in the North East is the kind of narrative Dante might have scripted. Imagine the reciprocal volatility of it all, the sense of two, unstable parties squabbling over a tub of nitroglycerin. Mike Ashley and Balotelli under a single roof?

There is no doubting that, for all the good, early work Liverpool have been doing in the market, Brendan Rodgers's most urgent requirement is to get Balotelli out of Anfield. You cannot, logically, sell the concept of hard, selfless work to a dressing-room that still houses somebody on close to a six-figure weekly salary for whom putting on a training bib equates to some kind of complex engineering challenge.

If Liverpool made a mess of their transfer dealings last year, Balotelli stands as the poster-boy of that confusion. A team built around the concept of pressing high invested £16 million in a footballer who cannot play that way. Mind-boggling.

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