EXCLUSIVE | By Italy correspondent Gianluigi Carrozzini
Fiorentina have opened preliminary talks with Liverpool over a move for Mario Balotelli, Football Insider sources understand.
The Serie A club have targeted the Anfield outcast as they prepare to sell Mario Gomez to Besiktas.
As reported by Football Insider, the Merseysiders will listen to offers for Balotelli this summer as well as his team-mates Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert. The trio is deemed surplus to requirements by the Liverpool hierarchy, with Balotelli left at home to negotiate a move while the senior squad set off last Sunday for their pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia.
Fiorentina want a new striker after deciding to sell Gomez and having to cope with first-choice spearhead Giuseppe Rossi for lengthy periods.
The Italian club are close to reaching an agreement with Turkish club Besitkas for the transfer of former Germany international Gomez.
The 30-year-old has been blighted by injuries since joining from Bayern Munich in 2013 and Rossi did not play for the Viola last season after undergoing knee surgery.
Balotelli had a disastrous season for Liverpool after signing from AC Milan in a £16million deal last summer. He has scored just four goals in 28 appearances, only one of which has been in the Premier League.