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Souness: Balotelli deal is an 'enormous gamble'


(L-R) Graeme Souness, Jimmy Magee and Kenny Cunningham.

(L-R) Graeme Souness, Jimmy Magee and Kenny Cunningham.

(L-R) Graeme Souness, Jimmy Magee and Kenny Cunningham.

Former Liverpool boss Graeme Souness has stressed he would not be making the "high-risk" signing of Mario Balotelli if he was still in charge at Anfield.

Balotelli's proposed transfer from AC Milan appears to be imminent, with a £16million fee reportedly agreed and the maverick Italy striker having been pictured at the Reds' Melwood training ground on Friday.

But Souness is not convinced it is a good move for Liverpool.

The Scot said: "At times Balotelli doesn't seem to enjoy football. Big teams can do without people who pick and choose when they will have a go. It's a high-risk signing. I wouldn't want him.''

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers refused to speak about Balotelli specifically on Friday at his pre-match press conference to preview Monday's clash with the frontman's former club Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

But he did talk about the Merseyside club's "extensive code of conduct" and his "complete confidence" any incoming player will not be a disruptive influence, before adding: "We understand that sometimes you have to take a risk with people and, a lot of the time, if you take that risk you can get a reward for it."


The 24-year-old's career has featured sparkling performances interspersed with volatility on the field and erratic behaviour off it. And Souness - the ex-Liverpool captain who managed them to FA Cup glory in 1992 and has also been in charge of Newcastle, Blackburn, Rangers and Southampton - feels the move is an "enormous gamble" that is not worth taking.

He said: ''It's an enormous gamble by Rodgers, a gamble I don't think he needs to take because he has a very strong group of players. The harmony looks good but he may find, like every previous manager of the Italian, that he will spend more time talking about Balotelli, spending time with him and defending him, than he will the rest of the group put together.''