Liverpool was to pay a $1 million  to an ineffective striker despite the player’s poor scoring record.

Liverpool was to pay a $1 million  to an ineffective striker despite the player’s poor scoring record.

Mario Balotelli is one of the worst Premier League players Liverpool has ever signed.

The Italian, who has recently fallen foul of yet another club with Swiss side Sion determined to transfer the striker, joined the Reds in controversial circumstances in the summer of 2014. A few weeks prior to the striker’s signing as a Luis Suarez replacement, then-manager Brendan Rodgers was adamant that the club would not acquire him. However, he was left with no choice.

Balotelli, a £16 million transfer from AC Milan, had a decent start at Anfield. He discreetly impressed up front alongside Daniel Sturridge in his debut against Tottenham Hotspur and scored his first Champions League goal for the club against Ludogorets in only his third appearance since moving to Merseyside.

However, everything eventually collapsed. Stories of deliberately scoring own goals in training and refusing to mark at corners were just the top of the chaotic iceberg when it came to a player Jose Mourinho once infamously labeled ‘unmanageable’.

Balotelli would start only 14 of his 28 appearances after falling out with Brendan Rodgers. He completed the season on the bench, with only one of his four goals coming in the Premier League.

Unsurprisingly, Liverpool soon lost patience with the Italian and returned him on loan to AC Milan. However, he underperformed during his second tenure at San Siro, scoring only three goals before returning to Anfield. The Reds eventually transferred him permanently to OGC Nice on the final day of the August 2016 transfer window, with the French club paying no transfer fee to acquire the striker.

It’s safe to say that Balotelli’s tenure with Liverpool was terrible. Incredibly, he still managed to earn a £1 million incentive despite the Reds’ terrible 2014-2015 season.

When the forward signed a three-year deal with the Reds, his agent, Mino Raiola, negotiated a number of incentives. And Anfield officials were wary of Balotelli’s disciplinary history and insisted he act “in a manner befitting a Liverpool player.”

According to Football Leaks, his £85,000 per week contract stipulated: “If during each season of the term of this contract the player is not dismissed from the field of play on three or more events for violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or any other person, for using offensive, insulting or abusive words and/or gestures and/or for dissent by word or action, then on the 30th June at the end of each season he shall receive a bonus payment of £50,000.”

Balotelli was charged by the FA and fined £25,000 for posting an anti-Semitic social media post, resulting in a one-match suspension and seven bookings during his season at Anfield.

But he never received his marching orders, let alone the two ‘free passes’ for ‘violent conduct, spitting, or offensive, insulting, or abusive language and/or gestures’ that he could have ‘gotten away with’ without losing his £1 million windfall.

However, Balotelli neglected to activate one clause. In addition, he was offered a £50,000 goal incentive after scoring more than five Premier League or Champions League goals in a single season.

Two goals were scored for the club in all competitions, but only two were scored in the English premier league and Europe’s highest competition.

At least Balotelli’s struggles in front of goal prevented Liverpool from spending any more money on the ‘unmanageable’ Italian.

Now, eight years after departing the Reds, the forward remains one of the game’s most controversial figures. Should Sion, having barred Balotelli from first-team training, be successful in forcing him out of the relegated club, he will become the eighth club he has played for since departing Liverpool.

Liverpool was to pay a $1 million  to an ineffective striker despite the player’s poor scoring record.

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