Reds want Mario Balotelli clause
Liverpool want assurances that striker Mario Balotelli will behave himself before they commit themselves to signing him from AC Milan.
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Balotelli is set for a move to Anfield after the two clubs agreed a 16-million-pound fee on Thursday, but the Reds have told him he must agree to clean up his act if the deal is to be completed, sources have told ESPN FC.
Liverpool are ready to insist that stringent behaviour clauses are written into Balotelli's contract.
Chief executive Ian Ayre held talks in Liverpool on Thursday with Mino Raiola, the forward's agent, and those were continuing on Friday. Balotelli has yet to arrive in the U.K., and there is currently no timetable for him to fly in from Italy.
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The transfer has come as something of a surprise, given that manager Brendan Rodgers said on Aug. 3 that there was no chance of the Italy international moving to Anfield.
Rodgers is known to have had doubts about the player's temperament and is wary of disrupting the team spirit he has created at Anfield.
That is why the club want clauses in Balotelli's contract that will see the striker fined if he misbehaves significantly.
Liverpool have been seeking a top-class striker to strengthen their forward line after the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona on July 16.
A deal for QPR's Loic Remy collapsed on July 27 amid concerns about his medical, and the Reds have not pursued a deal for free agent Samuel Eto'o, a striker they have been considering a move for since his release by Chelsea at the end of last season.
Liverpool initially approached Milan about the possibility of taking Balotelli on loan, but discussions hit a buffer as the Serie A club rejected the idea of a break clause in the deal if the striker misbehaved.
But the Reds were willing to meet Milan's asking price of 16 million pounds to buy the player -- significantly less than the 25 million pounds that clubs were being quoted earlier in the summer.
That has cleared the way for Balotelli to return to England, having spent two-and-a-half years at Manchester City after joining from Inter Milan in July 2010.
His time at City was also affected by controversy, including incidents in which fireworks were set off in his bathroom and he threw a dart at a youth-team player, in addition to a public fallout with manager Roberto Mancini.
However, he helped City end a 35-year wait for a trophy as they lifted the FA Cup in 2011, then set up Sergio Aguero's stoppage-time winner against QPR on the final day of the following Premier League season as the club became champions of England for the first time since 1968.
The 24-year-old was unable to help Italy beyond the group stage at this year's World Cup in Brazil, although he did score the winner as they beat England 2-1 in their opening match.
Glenn Hayes, an employment law partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said in a news release: "Balotelli is clearly a world-class player and if Liverpool completes the deal they will of course be hoping that the player performs well on and off the pitch.
"His past record does suggest that there is potential for future misbehaviour and Liverpool will, I expect, be ensuring that they protect themselves.
"There are a number of non-standard options that the club has and I would not be surprised if they were written into his contract.
"The key will be for Liverpool to define the parameters for what will constitute bad behaviour. This is particularly important in an industry which seemingly often makes its own rules, and where general employment law principles are often overlooked."