Belfast Telegraph

Mario Balotelli's Liverpool misery is coming to an end

By Sam Wallace

Mario Balotelli has been told he has no future with Liverpool and the striker is training away from the first-team squad along with Fabio Borini and Jose Enrique, whom the club are also looking to offload this summer.

Balotelli, 24, was not on the pre-season tour to Thailand, Australia and Malaysia, and neither has he been included in the squads for the friendly games against HJK Helsinki in Finland tomorrow or Swindon Town on Sunday.

The club want £10m for a player who cost them £16m to sign last summer and they anticipate that any deal will probably go to the final day of the transfer window on September 1.

Rarely in the past has Brendan Rodgers asked members of the senior squad to train separately - Luis Suarez did so after his demand to leave the club in the summer of 2013 - but the Liverpool manager has told Balotelli that he does not want him around the first team.

It is telling that, although Rickie Lambert's departure to West Bromwich Albion is imminent, the Englishman is still part of the first-team group in training.

Lambert's deal is in the final stages with the negotiations now over the structure of the £3m payment from West Brom. There has been interest from Norwich City and Leicester City in Lambert but West Brom have always been the key contenders for his signature.

The future for Balotelli is less certain. Liverpool's asking price is far too high for Bologna, who have expressed an interest, and the likelihood is that a solution will be found by the player's agent Mino Raiola, who has moved him before.

There has been no official approach to Liverpool over Borini from West Ham. Enrique's future is also uncertain, with no major interest in him yet.

The Helsinki game is Rodgers' main focus and he has named a strong squad. The likelihood is that Christian Benteke, the £32.5m signing from Aston Villa, will make his debut against Swindon on Sunday. That will possibly be Roberto Firmino's debut too - he is also not travelling to Helsinki.

Newcastle, meanwhile, have announced the signing of Chancel Mbemba and hope he will be granted a work permit in time to start the Premier League season.

The 20-year-old DR Congo defender was granted governing body endorsement (GBE) at a Football Association panel hearing yesterday, and now needs just visa clearance to launch his Newcastle career.

Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko has agreed personal terms with Roma.

But the two clubs are yet to settle on a fee for the Bosnia and Herzegovina international, who has won two Premier League titles in four seasons with City.

Dzeko started just 11 league games last season, and Manuel Pellegrini this month admitted the £27m signing's future could lie away from Manchester.

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