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Liverpool is not going to offload Mario Balotelli on Napoli

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SuperMario isn't performing well in the Premier League, so the natural inclination is to think he's headed back to Italy.

Alex Livesey

Sometimes one has to wonder how rumors get started. This particular one, suggesting that Napoli are front runners to welcome Mario Balotelli back to England, appears to have originated from the soul-sucking depths of England's Metro. The free paper is hardly worth its price: in case you're unfamiliar with this rag, the fine folks at Football Transfer League have run the numbers. Out of 1150 transfer rumors published, Metro have been right 158 times. They're at 13.7% accuracy, worse than the likes of the Sun, Mail and Mirror.

A guess at how this happened? The fine folks at the Metro thought, hey, SuperMario was doing alright in Italy. Who might want him back? Well let's look at the middle of the Serie A table. Napoli don't seem to be doing as well as they should be - we have a vague recollection of them being in Champions League last season. Yes. They played Arsenal. Ok. Balotelli will go there.

Or perhaps it was just, "Oh, Rafa Benítez used to manage Liverpool and is now at Napoli. A thread!"

Oh wait, sorry, Metro got this reliable rumor from this site, which surely knows what its on about. Anyway, they anticipate Napoli to pony up £10m, or nearly €13m, to woo the striker back to Italy. Considering the most Napoli paid this summer was around  €7.8m for Kalidou Koulibaly, it sure seems unlikely.

Particularly as the partenopei offense isn't exactly hurting. Not now, anyway. José Callejón has already scored seven, but now that both Gonzalo Higuaín and Marek Hamšík have broken their Serie A ducks, the goal numbers should go up (please God).

Yes, we're all hopeful that Aurelio De Laurentiis will allow for some spending come January. The players brought in this summer to add depth to the attack -- Michu, Jonathan de Guzmán -- aren't exactly helping. A new fullback would sure be nice. Even another centerback would bring a little relief.

But what is not needed is another expensive striker, particularly one that will sulk and moan if he's a bench player. And really, if Mario is having issues shrugging off the complaints of the Liverpool crowds and the English media, god only knows what would happen if faced with the crowds at the San Paolo this season.