Mario Balotelli has his final chance.
The 25-year-old Italian striker is on his way back to Milan, with a medical set for Tuesday ahead of a season-long loan move from Liverpool.
Liverpool will pay half of Balotelli's wages. He is expected to take a pay cut from his current wage of 123,000 euros per week.
Balotelli left Milan for Liverpool last summer on a move worth 22 million euros. After scoring 30 goals in 54 matches over two seasons. In 28 matches last year, Balotelli only hit the net four times.
This will be a critical season for Balotelli. Regularly in the news more for his antics than his on-field performance, Balotelli needs a big season free of distractions to keep his career on track. Milan CEO Adriano Galliani has made that clear.
Galliani: "If Balotelli returns to Milan, then it will be his last chance, and he knows it." @FinallyMario— AC Milan News (@Milanello) August 23, 2015
How Balotelli will fit into this Milan squad remains to be seen. The Rossoneri are deeper in attack than when Balotelli first arrived. But Carlos Bacca and Luiz Adriano looked underwhelming in Milan's opening match against Fiorentina. Milan did not play well as a squad, but the new attack even lacked flair in the preseason.
Balotelli has proven he can put the ball in the net for Milan, but it is hard to imagine Balotelli could come in and replace Bacca or Adriano immediately. Sinus Mihajlovic needs to give his new guys a chance.
There is also the matter of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Milan has been pursuing Ibrahimovic all summer, as the former Milan striker could be a major boost to the attack. It has been suggested that bringing Balotelli back on loan could be a favor to Mino Raiola to help push through a move for Ibrahimovic. Raiola represents both players and has a great relationship with Galliani and Milan.
Bringing two big-time forwards in will certainly be a big help, but Milan is also on the hunt for another midfielder or two. Mihajlovic wants to bring in Sampdoria midfielder Roberto Soriano, and the club is still interested in Axel Witsel.