Everybody deserves a second chance, right? Although in Mario Balotelli‘s case, everybody has pretty much lost count of his chances at this point. His latest chance has now come in the form of a transfer back to the Premier League with Liverpool for £16m from AC Milan, but although the Italian is changing clubs, don’t expect anything else to change anytime soon.
For years Balotelli has behaved like a school kid, but he has been given leeway because he was still young and yet to mature. Now aged 24, though, he’s not a kid anymore and Balotelli is now at a point where he has to stand up and be accountable for the mistakes he makes. Of course, Balotelli could always suddenly mature one day, but you certainly wouldn’t predict it any time soon considering his history and the depth of it.
It remains a gamble for Liverpool to spend £16m on the unpredictable Italian, even though in today’s market that isn’t that much in comparison to other deals. But any amount is a lot when you consider that, in all likelihood, you will get very minimal return on your investment. If you were playing poker, and the odds on your hand winning were comparable to the odds on Balotelli being a success, you would fold immediately. It’s not just the antics off the field that should ring the alarm bells, however, because on the field he is just as unpredictable.
His form is erratic and he has no consistency in his play; for five games he is awful, then for one game he is good. Last season Balotelli scored 14 league goals as the main striker of Milan — which placed him as only the 13th highest scorer in Serie A — but he only mustered seven of those goals from open play. If that’s anything to go by, and if Steven Gerrard remains as Liverpool’s penalty taker this season, then Balotelli might not get anywhere near double digit goals for his new club this year.
After a season of controversy off the field, and yet more uninspired performances on it, Milan decided to cash in this summer while they still had a vague chance of getting their money back. It’s taken them until this point to find a buyer, though, which tells you the reluctance of other clubs to invest in the Italian anymore.
However, after missing out on their initial targets, Liverpool are the team who have now indeed taken the plunge and given Balotelli yet another chance, but when it all goes wrong at Anfield this time, unlike Milan, Liverpool will not get their money back.