Brendan Rodgers: I never wanted to sign Mario Balotelli

Former Liverpool manager Rodgers was talking on Goals on Sunday

Sunday 17 January 2016 20:34
Brendan Rodgers says he did not want to sign Mario Balotelli
Brendan Rodgers says he did not want to sign Mario Balotelli

Brendan Rodgers has claimed he did not have the last word on transfers at Liverpool, insisting that the club’s owners wanted him to turn maverick striker Mario Balotelli from a £16m gamble into a £50m superstar.

Speaking for the first time since his sacking in October, Rodgers, a guest on Sky’s Goals On Sunday show, also spoke of his disappointment at missing out on signing Alexis Sanchez and Dele Alli.

During the three and a half years he was in charge at Anfield, Rodgers always maintained he had “the final say” on transfers, but now says signing Italy striker Balotelli was the decision of Fenway Sports Group.

“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. I felt Mario was someone who wouldn’t work for us. 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.”

Rodgers wanted Alexis Sanchez to fill the void left by the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, but he joined Arsenal. “The huge blow for us was we felt we were getting Alexis Sanchez,” he said. “We thought Luis was going and he would have been the like-for-like replacement. He would have been perfect for us.”

As for 19-year-old Alli, who has broken into the England team since joining Tottenham from MK Dons, Rodgers said: “He wanted to come to Liverpool. We thought we had him in. Then the deal didn’t get done between the clubs and eventually he went to Tottenham, which was frustrating and disappointing.”

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