Mario Balotelli's nightmare spell at Liverpool is close to a conclusion after AC Milan confirmed they are locked in talks with the Premier League club over a loan move for the Italy international. The striker has been banished from the Reds' first team after scoring just four goals in 28 appearances on his return to English football.
The 25-year-old did not feature during the Merseyside club's pre-season schedule or in either of their first two league games of the 2015-16 campaign against Stoke City and AFC Bournemouth as he trains away from the main group at the Melwood training ground. The arrival of Christian Benteke from Aston Villa and Danny Ings from Burnley, as well and return of Divock Origi, has seen the former Manchester City forward spiral down the pecking order.
Balotelli was acquired in the summer of 2014 as the replacement for Luis Suarez but despite his previous Premier League experience, he cut a dejected figure last term while his languid style meant he was unable to capture the hearts of the Liverpool support. Manager Brendan Rodgers has already confirmed players will be free to leave during the final week of the window and the Italian forward is expected to spark that exodus.
"There are negotiations with Liverpool for a loan, but we have not reached an agreement on wages," chief executive Adriano Galliani told Mediaset Premium, according to Sky Sports. Balotelli scored 30 goals in 54 appearances during his first spell with Milan, before moving back to English football 12 months ago.
"We want a loan with a portion of the wages paid by us and another portion by Liverpool," the Milan chief continued. "We want Balo because we are convinced this lad realises that this is absolutely his last chance. I hope he understands that."
Fabio Borini, Jose Enrique and Lucas Leiva could yet follow Balotelli out of Anfield before the summer transfer window closes on 1 September. Borini has been sidelined after scoring just three goals in as many years for Liverpool, while Enrique has not played since January and accused Rodgers of alienating him. Lucas, meanwhile, is a confirmed target for Besiktas though a deal is no closer to being completed.