Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli will not be joining Sampdoria this summer, according to the Serie A club's new manager Walter Zenga.
Ex-Manchester City frontman Balotelli endured a frustrating first season on Merseyside following his return to English football from AC Milan in a £16m ($25.1m) deal in August 2014, contributing just four goals for Brendan Rodgers' side in all competitions.
The Italian international's lacklustre showings have led to speculation that he could be set to depart Liverpool, with Sampdoria emerging as potential contenders for his signature in May after president Massimo Ferrero voiced a willingness to partner him with Samuel Eto'o at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
"Balotelli is a great name," he told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. "He'd suit a lot of teams. I'd take him at Sampdoria in a heartbeat. A partnership of Eto'o-Balotelli would be fantastic."
Eto'o joined from Everton during the January transfer window and the much travelled 34-year-old was said by the Daily Mail to be on the verge of joining Turkish club Antalyaspor last week.
Despite that, Zenga has however poured cold water on suggestions that he could be set to swoop for Balotelli or sanction a return to Genoa for Antonio Cassano.
"Cassano and Balotelli are players of extraordinary talent, but no, we won't be signing them," he was quoted as telling Rai Radio 2 by Goal.
Zenga, who was appointed as new Milan boss Sinisa Mihajlovic's replacement earlier in June, appeared more open to a potential move for another former Sampdoria striker in Giampaolo Pazzini, although hinted that the extensive transfer business carried out by the club already this summer could preclude any further signings.
"Giampaolo Pazzini? Who wouldn't like to train a player like that? But there are problems with such signings that fans are unaware of," he added.
"We have already made three or four buys. There's Edgar Barreto, Niklas Moisander, Federico Bonazzoli and Mattia Cassani. We got Cassani to plug the gap after Lorenzo De Silvestri's injury.
"The club acted quickly in the transfer market and we are building a good squad. We'll see what else happens. The market is open until the start of September."