Liverpool: Manchester United offered striker; Sakho attracting interest; Sturridge unhappy
Liverpool’s attempts to get rid of unwanted strikers have had mixed results this summer. Last week, Crystal Palace finally agreed a deal for Christian Benteke, signing the striker for an initial £27 million, rising to £32 million.
Selling Mario Balotelli, though, has proved to be much more difficult. Several Italian clubs, including Sampdoria, Bologna and Sassuolo have flirted with the idea of taking the troubled forward, before declaring themselves out of the race. Palermo are the latest side to have been linked, with their manager saying they would take the striker and some fans launching a plea to the board.
Balotelli, though, seemingly still has other options available to him. Switzerland based Ticinonews have claimed that the Italian is interesting the Swiss side, who are losing their current centre forward Moussa Konate. A move to Switzerland, away from the limelight, but still with one of the best teams in the country could allow 26-year-old Balotelli the chance to rebuild his career.
That is not the most sensational move Balotelli has been linked with, though. Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy have said that his agent, Mino Raiola, is keen for his client to remain in England, and a shock move to Manchester United could be on the cards.
A move from Liverpool to Manchester United is not a well trodden path, especially not for a former Manchester City title winner, but Reds fans would be happy to make an exception if it meant Balotelli were to leave the club. Furthermore, Mourinho has worked with Balotelli before, at Inter Milan, and has previously described the 26-year-old as “unmanagable.”
The deal seems very unlikely, then, but Raiola has worked closely with United already this summer as the agent of Paul Pogba, and if Balotelli is to stay in the Premier League, it is hard to see him going anywhere else. However, if he is to finally end his Anfield nightmare, expect Balotelli to either end up with Sion or back in Serie A.
Another player who could be making Premier League moves is out of favour centre back Mamadou Sakho, who is now attracting loan interest from Stoke City.
Sakho, a fan favourite and a stalwart of Liverpool’s run to the Europa League final last term, has seen his place in the side threatened by a failed drugs test and disciplinary options on the club’s tour to America.
The Frenchman would definitely improve Stoke City’s side, as a solid, intelligent, if slightly clumsy central defender. His departure from Liverpool, though, makes very little sense. Although the Reds have signed Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan, they have lost central defenders in the shape of Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure, and were short at the back last season. More than that, despite his obvious deficiencies, Sakho remained their best defender last season.
It appears, though, that Klopp does wish to loan out the 26-year-old, and if that is the case, Stoke City would be a great place for the defender to rebuild his reputation.
Finally, Daniel Sturridge may start attracting rumours of an exit after suggesting he was unhappy with being shunted out wide in Liverpool’s front three.
Sturridge said he would “do a job for the team” out wide, but “that does not mean I am happy to do it.” Sturridge found himself operating on the wing, with Roberto Firmino through the centre against Burnley, and struggled to make an impact on the game.
Sturridge’s dilemma is obvious. He is a centre forward and is at his best playing straight through the middle and his double from the bench against Burton Albion showed his obvious quality. He may not be exactly to Klopp’s liking, but Sturridge is an excellent striker. Play him there.
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