Italians will make £8m January swoop
LIVERPOOL will consider a cut-price £8million offer from Napoli to take Mario Balotelli off their hands in January.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers appears to be ready to call time on Balotelli’s Anfield career after accepting his performances have not hit the required level.
The Northern Irishman had hoped he could get the best out of the enigmatic Italian, but after just two months he has all but given up.
Balotelli’s lack of goals have been less of a concern to Rodgers, who has been more disappointed with his work ethic on the pitch and during training.
The 24-year-old barely breaks sweat in preparations at Melwood and his body language in games has started to frustrate supporters.
The Reds paid AC Milan £16m for Balotelli, but they are set to write off half of that in order to move the player on when the transfer window opens.
Rodgers is understood to have drawn up a shortlist of potential replacements, with West Brom forward Saido Berahino at the top of the pile. Berahino has made a very impressive start to the season and Baggies boss Alan Irvine has hinted he would be prepared to let him go – if the club got the right offer.
Liverpool are also set to boost their goalkeeping options in January as they pursue a £10m move for Espanyol’s Kiko Casilla.
Club scouts have monitored Casilla this season, with uncertainty surrounding the future of first choice Simon Mignolet. Sources in Spain have confirmed Liverpool are readying an offer for Casilla, although the player would prefer to remain in La Liga.
Meanwhile, Liverpool insist they have no long-term concerns over striker Daniel Sturridge’s fitness.
Sturridge is recovering from a calf problem sustained in training, having missed the whole of September with a thigh complaint.
But Liverpool assistant boss Colin Pascoe insists the club aren’t worried about serious underlying problems.
“No, not at all. He’s a great pro and he looks after himself,” Pascoe said. “He’s just been a bit unlucky.”
NOT-SO-SUPER MARIO: Balotelli could be on his way out – while Kiko Casilla could be on his way in