Liverpool transfer news: Mario Balotelli's agent claims £16m Kop switch is 'make or break' for enigmatic Italian striker

AC Milan man expected to become a Liverpool player before Man City clash

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The Independent Football

Mario Balotelli's prospective £16m transfer to Liverpool is a 'make or break' deal for the enigmatic striker, according to the player's agent Mino Raiola.

The Italian, who scored twenty goals in 54 appearances for Manchester City, was in England yesterday to complete a medical and confirmation of his switch from AC Milan is expected this weekend.

The player's agent reportedly told Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper: "He won't have a contract different from the other Liverpool players. He'll have to respect the club's code of conduct like all the others.

"Liverpool have always been the only team I've negotiated with for Mario in England. The truth is that I've been working on Mario for months. The moment to divorce from Milan had come.

"Mario played well for six or seven months at Milan, giving a decisive contribution to getting them into the Champions League but then you saw he isn't ready to be a leader."

The quotes, translated on Twitter by European football writer James Horncastle, suggest the 24-year-old striker has been looking for a way out of the San Siro club for some time.

Raiola also appears to suggest that it was important to find his client a club where he wasn't required to lead by example, citing Steven Gerrard's influential presence at Anfield.

"I looked for a team for him where he can be important without being asked to be the leader. Liverpool have Gerrard and so Mario will be able to express himself as best he can. Now it's up to him. Another flop is not advisable."

According to Horncastle's account, the Italian's return to the Premier League also represents his last chance to make his mark at a top European side.

"Not everyone's born to be a leader," Raiola continues. "And a good striker isn't always one. Mario needs to take this pressure off his shoulders. At the highest level, it's make or break."