Mario Balotelli’s move to Liverpool is but moments away from completion, with both parties thrashing out personal terms after the Reds agreed a £16m fee for the Italian international.
With the signing of the dotted line imminent, the on-the-button odds gurus at bwin.com have priced up a goal line as the former Manchester City man embarks on another tilt in the Premier League.
Those who think he’ll register over 14.5 league strikes for the Merseysiders can land a 17/20 payday, while punters of the opposite opinion can lap up identical odds about him bagging fewer than 14.
Not once in his career has the trouble-making marksman notched enough to reward the overs backers here, but this is more to do with circumstance than ability.
Amazingly, in Serie A last term Balotelli boasted a better goals-per-minute ratio than both Liverpool attacking lynchpins Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.
The 24-year-old rustled the net once in every 132 minutes of action he participated in, while Sturridge and Suarez – who comfortably surpassed his final goal haul of 14 – managed to score after every 136 and 138 minutes respectively.
Balotelli’s detractors will be keen to overlook that the Uruguayan sharpshooter had 47 more shots than the 105 made by the man who’ll be filling his boots this season.
Suarez topped the Premier League scoring charts last season with 31, but he required 152 efforts to do so; roughly one goal in five attempts.
This by no means dwarves the rate of one strike in seven his replacement bagged in the Italian top tier.
The reason for his failure to rival either of his counterparts in the goalscoring stakes lies in the forward’s well-documented discipline issues.
Across the previous four campaigns, Balotelli has missed a staggering 12 matches through suspension, while only two players have a worse red card-to-game ratio than the ex-Citizen in the English top flight.
The Italian is dismissed once in every 18 Premier League matches, making suspension the most obvious hindrance to his chances of scoring 15 or more in 2014/15.
Assuming he’s available to make close to a full season of appearances though, it’s a tally he’s more than capable of surpassing.