Liverpool outcast Mario Balotelli looks destined to remain in career limbo for a little while longer yet after seeing hopes of a potential move to Besiktas all but dashed. The controversial striker returned to Merseyside for training in July after finishing a rather underwhelming loan stint with former club AC Milan, but has not featured at all during pre-season amid confirmation from Jurgen Klopp that his future lies elsewhere.
With Milan seemingly not interested in a permanent deal, Besiktas, despite a rather confusing episode involving an allegedly phantom interview with agent Mino Raiola, have been persistently mentioned as one of Balotelli's chief suitors.
Last week, president Fikret Orman reaffirmed the Turkish champions' interest in giving the effort, care and attention the player requires to "create solutions for his infamous troubles", However, that seems to be at odds with the latest quotes attributed to manager Senol Gunes.
"There were also rumours about (Manchester City left-back) Kolarov but he wasn't in my plans," he was quoted as saying by Goal. "Balotelli isn't in my plans either. I don't have a favourable view of Mario Balotelli. I have never expressed a positive insight on him."
Besiktas recently completed the signing of veteran Barcelona left-back Adriano, but Gunes is evidently on the hunt for a new striker after successful Fiorentina loanee Mario Gomez confirmed that he would not be returning to the club due to the "terrible events" surrounding the failed attempted coup in Turkey. That announcement came as a particular blow considering that the German international scored 28 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions last term as the Black Eagles finished five points ahead of Istanbul rivals Fenerbahce to win their first Super Lig title since 2009.
It remains unclear where Balotelli, omitted from Liverpool's pre-season trip to the United States, will head next, but a potentially lucrative switch to China could remain a viable option. Serie A outfit Sampdoria have also been credited with an interest in his services, while reports from The Mail over the weekend claimed that preliminary talks had taken place between Raiola and reigning Dutch champions Ajax. It is suggested that his client would be willing to compromise on his £90,000-per-week wages.