Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has joined French club Nice on a permanent deal. The controversial Italian was deemed surplus to requirements at Anfield and has been on the lookout for a new club throughout the summer.

Balotelli, 26, still had a year remaining on his Liverpool contract, but has joined the Ligue 1 side on a free transfer, as the Reds were eager to get him off their wage bill before the transfer window slammed shut.

Balotelli endured an unhappy spell at Liverpool, having joined the club from AC Milan in 2014. The out-of-favour striker spent last season on loan at the San Siro and was recently informed by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp that he had no future at the club.

Indeed, Klopp previously admitted Balotelli does not feature in his long-term plans. "I have spoken clearly to the player about that," Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.

"I know we can't talk about a lot of things because one agent says 'we want to stay', and another says 'we have had 10 offers so we have to leave'. But in this case, it's obvious."

Balotelli had alternative offers from FC Sion and Palermo, but he opted for Nice instead. Initially, the French club wanted to sign the player on a season-long loan deal, but Liverpool were pushing for a permanent move. And while they have not recouped any of the money they initially had to pay for Balotelli, they have at least avoided the scenario of having to pay up the final year of the Italian's contract.