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Ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admits he didn't want to sign Mario Balotelli

By Stuart Mckinley

Published 18/01/2016

Wrong deal: Brendan Rodgers with Mario Balotelli at Liverpool
Wrong deal: Brendan Rodgers with Mario Balotelli at Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers has revealed that Liverpool's owners pushed through the signing of controversial striker Mario Balotelli and that he never had the final say on new players.

Had the Anfield club's much maligned transfer committee not failed in their mission to bring in Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona to replace Luis Suarez - who left Merseyside to join the Catalan giants - Balotelli may never have come onto their radar.

As it turned out losing out to Arsenal in their bid to sign Sanchez left Liverpool with limited options in attack at the start of the 2014-15 season, which led to a gamble being taken on Balotelli - one that never paid off.

Rodgers, who was sacked as Liverpool boss in October after three and a half years in charge, had even ruled out a move for the Italian after a pre-season friendly in America in July 2014, only for him to sign a few weeks later.

"What we wanted and what we needed was a player who could really press at the top end of the field," said Rodgers.

"It wasn't just a goalscorer we were after. Luis Suarez was giving us so much more than that. That ability to press was something we wanted to work.

"After the AC Milan game, I was asked a question and I felt Mario was someone who wouldn't work for us, the profile of what we were after, but come the end of the summer, we were struggling to get someone who could do the role we wanted.

"I think the ownership group thought that this could be a player I could develop.

"They were thinking that maybe he is a £50m player that we can get for £16m.

"So, when the owners are wanting you to go down that route and there is no other options, then of course you give it a go."

Missing out on Sanchez - a player Rodgers claimed would have been the perfect replacement for Suarez - wasn't the only time that the Ulsterman met with frustration, as Liverpool's complex recruitment system, by which players are signed by a committee rather than the manager, left him in a position where his own targets may have been different to those of the others involved.

"It's difficult because you want a player in, but if the player is not on the list, you'd have to take someone," he said.

"You can't have no players. If you haven't got a left back, if the left back that you want, for whatever reason, you can't bring in, if there is a list of three or four, you are having to take the best on that group."

Belfast Telegraph

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