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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 23 February, 2020

Mario Balotelli close to Anfield exit and return to Serie A

The 26-year-old could be returning to Italy with Palermo.

The 26-year-old spent last season on loan at AC Milan.
The 26-year-old spent last season on loan at AC Milan.

PALERMO HAVE MADE an offer to sign Mario Balotelli from Liverpool and are confident of securing a deal before the end of the transfer window.

The Italy international has been forced to train away from the first team at Anfield after manager Jurgen Klopp made it clear that he was not in his plans.

Moves back to Serie A with Chievo, Sassuolo and Bologna have been suggested, while the president of Sion claimed they were interested in taking the 26-year-old to the Swiss Super League.

Palermo sporting director Guglielmo Micciche has now claimed that a bid has been submitted to Liverpool and he believes a return to the city of his birth could offer Balotelli the perfect chance to resurrect his career.

“It’s a very fascinating proposition,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “It’s a very difficult operation, but we’re trying. It would be a great coup for president Maurizio Zamparini, a gift for all of the fans.

“We’ve made an offer and now the ball is in Liverpool and the player’s court. He has a high salary and a lot of sponsors, so it’s not easy, but Palermo could be just the right place for him.

“He was born in Palermo and we consider him a citizen of Palermo. This city would welcome him with open arms – he would be adored here. It would be a dream for Palermo to have a player like him and he could be the leader of this team.”

Zamparini said he has spoken directly with Balotelli and his agent, Mino Raiola, and claimed the former Manchester City striker is eager to make the move despite concerns over his high salary.

“I called Raiola and he passed the phone over to Balotelli,” Zamparini told Corriere dello Sport. ”Mario confessed straight away that he’d be happy to come to Palermo.

“We did discuss the economic situation and I explained we could not afford wages above a certain level.

“This would be an opportunity for him, but he’d need to make a sacrifice to relaunch his career at this level.

“We are interested, so we need Raiola to understand that Balotelli must reboot. He needs a club like Palermo, which is of course where he was born, too – it would be a huge advantage in the long run.

“We are very happy to keep him for a year and get him back to being the world-class striker he once was.”

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