A Nice move for Mario

Mario Balotelli
Mario Balotelli

Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli’s miserable spell at Anfield is finally over after he completed a move to Nice.

The Ligue 1 side have got the Italy international, who scored just four goals in 28 appearances, for free but the Reds did not have to pay off the 26-year-old, which was a distinct possibility for a time as numerous European clubs turned down the chance to sign the striker.

Balotelli spent last season on at former club AC Milan after just one campaign at Liverpool, having been signed by former manager Brendan Rodgers for £16million.

“We are very pleased to welcome Mario,” president Jean-Pierre Rivere told ogcnice.com.

“We hope that Nice, in a family atmosphere, he will find the pleasure of the game.

“We know, him and us, that nothing will be easy but with the desire and, hopefully, the support of all our fans we will allow it to flourish and bring his talent to the service of the team.”

Balotelli will train with his new team-mates on Thursday before being presented to the media on Friday.

Liverpool’s clear-out of the deadwood had begun earlier in the day with Luis Alberto, who managed just 12 appearances in his first season before being loaned out to Malaga and Deportivo La Coruna, sold to Lazio in a £6million deal.

The Reds have received an initial fee of £4.3million with the rest made up of add-ons and the club have also inserted a 30 per cent sell-on clause.

Defender Andre Wisdom. 23, has gone to Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg on loan, his fourth spell after spending the last three seasons at Derby, West Brom and Norwich.

Liverpool’s final piece of business in the transfer window was to send Lazar Markovic to Sporting Lisbon.

The winger has not featured in a matchday squad for manager Jurgen Klopp, having returned from a loan spell with Fenerbahce last season.

Klopp had told defender Mamadou Sakho to go out on loan to prove his professionalism after the manager became concerned about his attitude and instances of poor timekeeping which resulted in him being sent home from their pre-season tour of the United States.

The Reds boss does not want to sell the 26-year-old at the moment as he still rates him as a player - but wanted the defender to spend some time at another club but the France defender turned down loans to Stoke and West Brom.