Sport Soccer

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Balotelli staying with Liverpool, insists agent

Liverpool's Mario Balotelli
Liverpool's Mario Balotelli

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool's ambition to offload Mario Balotelli may prove tricky to negotiate after the striker's agent said he would be staying at Anfield.

Mino Raiola claims his client has no intention of quitting the Merseyside club, despite facing the prospect of being the fifth-choice striker if he does not accept he is no longer part of the plans for next season.

Liverpool want to sign Christian Benteke and have secured Divock Origi from Lille for £10m. Liverpool also believe they will sign Danny Ings from Burnley for a compensation fee, regardless of any late interest from Tottenham Hotspur.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has run out of patience with Balotelli, who could not adjust to Liverpool's playing style.

The restructuring of the squad is under way and Balotelli is one of those the club hope to sell to raise funds, but asked if the 24-year-old was on his way out, Raiola said: "No. We had talks with Liverpool and he will definitely stay."

Raiola insisted Balotelli could fit in to Rodgers' formation.

"I think Mario did adapt," Raiola said. "I think Mario did. I have spoken at various times to the club and they were happy with his input and professionalism.

"We have to improve the performance but I am really confident that will happen this year."

Balotelli signed last August after bids for Alexis Sanchez and Loic Remy failed.

Liverpool would like Balotelli to leave, along with his compatriot Fabio Borini.

Rickie Lambert is also free to talk to other clubs this summer, having turned down a move to Aston Villa in January. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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