Mario Balotelli is believed to be on the verge of a sensational return to the Premier League, with Liverpool set to land his signature.
Reports emerged earlier this week that the Reds had lodged an official offer for the controversial Italian international, although this was soon played down by Milan. However, the Rossoneri have now all but confirmed the striker will leave this month, after revealing he has already bid farewell to his team-mates.
Although they have not named Liverpool, a statement on the official Milan club website on Thursday afternoon read: “Mario Balotelli left Milanello’s sporting centre at 1.30pm (local time), after saying goodbye to his team-mates. Before leaving the premises, the striker has said goodbye to members of Milan’s press office.”
It is believed a fee of £16million has been agreed for Balotelli, who had a controversial yet successful two-and-a-half-year spell with Manchester City. The former Internazionale ace helped the Blues end a 35-year wait for silverware when they won the FA Cup in 2011, which was followed by the Premier League title in 2012.
However, his off-field antics often saw the striker hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, and he was also at times guilty of ill-discipline on the pitch. So when Milan bid the best part of £20million for his signature in January 2013, City decided to cut their losses on the popular 24-year-old and allow him to return to his homeland.
Balotelli has an impressive strike rate for the Rossoneri – 30 goals in 54 appearances in all competitions – but he is thought to have clashed with the club during his time there. His return to England is sure to be one of the biggest stories of the summer window, and his agent is set to wrap up the formalities within 24 hours.
Should the player seal his return to Anfield before 12 noon on Friday, he will be eligible to make his debut for Brendan Rodgers’ side at the weekend. In one of those twists which appear to happen in football at a bizarre rate, the Reds travel to the Etihad Stadium to take on his former club City on Monday evening.