Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli offered an escape route by Zola.Getty Images

Gianfranco Zola has urged Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli to consider joining him at Qatari side Al-Arabi to "recharge" after a disappointing spell on Merseyside.

The Chelsea legend became the latest high profile name to move to the Middle East following his dismissal from Serie A side Cagliari in March.

Balotelli meanwhile is all but certain to leave Liverpool after a dismal return to the Premier League last season but is short of options with few clubs willing to take a chance on him.

Having seen the Italy international endure another tumultuous season, Zola believes Balotelli, along with the mercurial Antonio Cassano, should consider the same move he took, admitting he would not hesitate in bringing them to Al-Arabi.

"In Qatar there are important players, for people like Cassano and Balotelli it could be an opportunity," Zola told Italian broadcaster Sky Sport, as reported by Gazzetta dello Sport. "Playing in the Middle East gives a chance to rebuild, recharge and re-examine their experience in football.

When asked about the possibility of signing the duo himself, Zola added: "We are crowded, but if I had the opportunity I would do it without a second thought."

Balotelli, a £16m signing from AC Milan last summer, has suffered the indignity of being left out of two pre-season squads by manager Brendan Rodgers this summer. The ex-Manchester City star was initially excluded from the party that travelled to Australia and the Far East and on Friday 31 July he was also omitted from the 16 that left for Finland for the club's penultimate friendly against HJK Helsinki, as confirmed by Liverpool's official website.

Sampdoria would appear to be one of the very few clubs willing to throw the player a lifeline, with club president recently telling reporters: "With a discount, I would take him with open arms. People have got to get used to how things are in this country – you can get by with little, you only die when you have nothing," Sport Mediaset reports.