Massimiliano Allegri rejects talk of Mario Balotelli moving to Juventus
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri has denied media reports linking Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli with a move to the club during January.
Balotelli, 24, has scored just two goals since joining the Reds from AC Milan in a 16 million-pound transfer in August and has yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League this season.
His agent, Mino Raiola, was spotted at Juve's training ground last week -- officially to check in on another of his clients, Paul Pogba, but reportedly also to discuss potential transfers, including Balotelli and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Tuttosport suggested last week that the Italy international could be on his way to Juve, but reported on Monday that the club's board feel the move could be a risk.
The paper claims that Juve feel his presence could undermine the balance of the team's core group, and so a transfer is not worth pressing ahead with.
Allegri, who coached the striker at Milan before taking the helm of Juve in July, confirmed that the club would not sign the player.
He told Italian TV station RAI: "I think this is a made-up story. Balotelli has done very well with me but he belongs to Liverpool and he is not a player that can arrive at Juventus.''
Allegri added in a news conference: "With me, Balotelli had a good year, with a good goalscoring record. Unfortunately he's built a 'persona' outside of the football world and because of this people tend to talk more about what he does off the pitch than what he does on the pitch.
"But I think the time has come for him to show that he really can achieve his full potential -- through sacrifices and effort. Whether I would like to work with him again or not, well, I would love to have all the best players, but he's at Liverpool now, and while he is there he needs to concentrate on playing well. He needs to concentrate on showing he is an important player."
Balotelli, who is also a reported target of Paris Saint-Germain, has struggled with a groin injury since November.
Raiola insists that despite Balotelli's slow start to life at Anfield, he will come good at Liverpool.
"I'm not worried,'' Raiola told RAI. "Mario has been out for almost 10 weeks with an injury and you cannot judge him until he is 100 percent fit. It's not easy to go abroad and adapt quickly to a new team.''
Raiola does not regret Balotelli's return to the Premier League. The striker played almost three seasons at Manchester City before joining Milan in January 2013.
"Decisions are judged at the time when they are made,'' Raiola said. "In the summer, it was right [for Balotelli] to leave Milan and I would do it again. Mario has gone to the best league in the world.
"Now he is not doing well at Liverpool for different reasons but Mario is calm and he is working to return to be in top condition. I do not regret this transfer and Mario's departure from Milan.''
Balotelli is under contract with Liverpool until June 2017.