Former Liverpool midfield general and manager Graeme Souness says that he would not be signing Mario Balotelli if he was in Brendan Rodgers’ shoes.
The Reds are set to officially announce the £16m arrival of ‘Mad Mario’ on Tuesday after settling personal terms and processing a medical over the weekend.
Although a talented player, Balotelli has been plagued by controversy throughout his relatively young career, with off-field mishaps and his sometimes questionable temperament on the pitch garnering much criticism.
It’s understood that Rodgers himself has given the go-ahead to the deal despite the worries, with the Northern Irishman having talked of “risk” and “reward” in relation to the Italian.
But Souness – who manager Liverpool between 1991 – 1994 – is worried by the forward’s reputation and says that he would not be signing him if he was in charge:
“It’s an enormous gamble by Rodgers, a gamble I don’t think he needs to take because he has a very strong group of players.” He is quoted by the Daily Star.
“The harmony looks good but he may find, like every previous manager of the Italian, that he will spend more time talking about Balotelli, spending time with him and defending him, than he will the rest of the group put together.”
“At times Balotelli doesn’t seem to enjoy football. Big teams can do without people who pick and choose when they will have a go.
“It’s a high-risk signing. I wouldn’t want him.”