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Mercato Madness: Mario Balotelli to Napoli rumors just won't go away

Another week, another "why is this even a thing" rumor.

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Mario Balotelli hasn't had the greatest of years. He slumped in the second half of the season with AC Milan, was then forced out of Milan, joined Liverpool, has yet to score a league goal there thanks to injuries and poor form, and was recently suspended for a match by the English FA on a racism charge*. Now a new year is ready to dawn, and Balotelli apparently wants to start over again with it.

*Yes, accusing Mario Balotelli of racism when he's a constant target of it is even more ridiculous than it sounds. Worse? He's being forced to attend a racism awareness seminar. Yeah.

Over the last month or so, there's been a slew of rumors saying that either Napoli want to bring Balotelli in on loan, or that the striker wants to come to Naples. Those rumors in the face of his current manager, Brendan Rodgers, telling the press at least once a week in response to questions about Balotelli's destination that the Italian striker is going nowhere, but that hasn't slowed the reports down one bit.

Now we have another one: Napoli are "seeking" to bring Balotelli in on loan for the rest of the season. Yawn. We've heard this before. But this time, let's examine for a moment just why this makes absolutely no sense.

  • Cost. Even on loan, Balotelli won't be cheap. His wages are high, and for Liverpool to consider letting him go out on loan, the club taking him on would also have to take the burden of a majority of those wages in order for the move to be worth it for the English club. As we've discussed many times before, Napoli don't have the best financial resources, and committing a large chunk of what they have to use this winter to Balotelli's wages when he's been in this poor of form seems.... ill-advised.
  • Fit. Balotelli's playing style is by and large a selfish one*, looking to take the ball for himself and his own devices rather than playing in teammates more frequently. That doesn't jive with how Rafa Benitez likes his strikers to operate, preferring someone like Gonzalo Higuain who can create as well as he can finish. Balotelli also doesn't operate well as a lone striker, something Liverpool has found out to their downfall, and Benitez simply doesn't use two strikers up top. (*This doesn't mean that Balo is a selfish person or a selfish player, just that his playing style is best described as "selfish" since it focuses on what he does and not bringing in others most of the time)
  • Playing time. Unless Gonzalo Higuain is going away (PLEASE DON'T GO AWAY PIPITA), you have to wonder where Balotelli's playing time will come from. Duvan Zapata struggles to get enough time on the pitch, and it would be no different for Balo. Why would he come here without a guarantee of sufficient minutes to get him back on track and ready to succeed? And even if Higuain does leave (PLEASE DON'T LEAVE PIPITA), Balotelli simply hasn't been good enough for the last year to be worthy of replacing him.
There really is no facet or angle for this deal that makes a lick of sense for Napoli, or for that matter for Balotelli either. He doesn't fit in Naples, and that would seemingly leave it inevitable that such a move would only end in things blowing up in everyone's faces. In the best interests of Napoli and Balotelli... let's just not make this move, OK?