'Liverpool thought Balotelli was a £50m player'

The striker scored just one goal for the club, but the man who brought him to Anfield has revealed the Reds’ owners thought he could become a player of huge value

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers revealed the club’s owners thought Mario Balotelli was a “£50million player” that they could bring in for cheap and develop.

Rodgers, who was sacked in October last year, signed Balotelli as a replacement for Luis Suarez following his move to Barcelona. 

The Italy striker cost the club £16m but was one of the Rodgers’ last options after he failed to sign Alexis Sanchez.

He scored just one league goal for Liverpool before returning to AC Milan on a season-long loan deal in August. 

“What we needed was a replacement for a player who could press from the top end of the field,” he told Sky Sports.

“It wasn’t just a goalscorer we were after, Luis Suarez was giving so much more than that – the press and how we wanted to work.

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“After the AC Milan friendly I was asked a question and he wasn’t someone I felt was suited or fitted the profile of what we were after.”

However Rodgers said the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, thought he could “develop” Balotelli into a world-class player.

“[But] come the end of summer, when we were struggling to get in the type of player we wanted for that role, the ownership thought [Balotelli] was a player I could maybe develop,” he said. 

“He’s had issues Mario, he’s a wonderful talent and make no mistake. You see him on the training field every day, he’s six foot three, he’s fast, strong, has the touch.

“They thought this is a £50m player that they can bring in for £16m, and I can maybe develop him how I developed a few of the other players.

“When the owners want you to go down that route and there are no other options, you give it a go.”

Balotelli went on to score just one Premier League goal in 16 appearances under Rodgers. 

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