Mario Balotelli is set to end his disastrous spell at Liverpool by returning to AC Milan on a season-long loan, with the likelihood that the Italian will never return to Anfield to see out the remainder of his three-year contract.
The 25-year-old (right) has been cut adrift of the Liverpool first-team squad this summer by manager Brendan Rodgers, with Balotelli left behind while the rest of his team-mates toured the Far East and Australia in pre-season.
And Rodgers has now secured an escape route back to Serie A for Balotelli after Milan agreed to play the player's £80,000-a-week Anfield wages in order to take him back to the San Siro.
Balotelli, who won the Premier League title with Manchester City in 2011-12, completed a £16m transfer to Liverpool last August with Rodgers attempting to boost the team's firepower following the £75m sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
But Balotelli's season on Merseyside proved an unmitigated disaster, with the player scoring just one goal in 16 Premier League appearances.
With Liverpool adding forwards Christian Benteke, Danny Ings, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi to their squad this summer, it was made clear to Balotelli that he would have no future at the club.
Balotelli's failure to integrate successfully with his team-mates or adhere to Rodgers' tactical demands saw him pushed the fringes of the squad even before his summer isolation, but his wages had appeared an obstacle that Liverpool would find it difficult to overcome in order to offload him during this window.
But with his stock still relatively high in Italy following 26 goals in 43 Serie A appearances for Milan, his former employers have now agreed to hand Balotelli a career lifeline. (© Daily Telegraph, London)