Albert Einstein famously said: "The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again, expecting different results." Conversely, there is an old Japanese proverb which states: "A smart man learns from his mistakes, but a truly wise man learns from the mistakes of others."
Liverpool have just announced the signing of troubled yet undeniably talented Mario Balotelli, and no matter how you look at this news, it's clear that someone within the Liverpool organization is either insane, or extremely unwise and unwilling to learn from their mistakes.
After the sale of Suarez many Liverpool fans - myself included - heaved a large sigh of relief. Finally the sagas would be over; no more transfer speculation, no more scandals and for the love of all that's holy no more biting. The team could move on, Gerrard could finish his illustrious career leading an honorable group of men onto the pitch without all the press conference questions regarding controversies, and Liverpool would no longer be the joke of modern football, constantly having their name and reputation tarnished by the presence of a talented, but obviously disturbed striker.
And then they signed Balotelli.
It's a bit like Deja-Vu really. Balotelli is crazy, but not quite cannibal crazy like Suarez. Balotelli is like that insane uncle of yours who tells stories of jumping off of rooftops into swimming pools, or making change for a buck from the red cross Santa collection buckets. He's the sort of guy who is embarrassingly fearless, and would do anything for a laugh.
Suarez on the other hand bites people. So... How do you even define that really?
If you are not familiar with the antics of Balotelli ESPN put together a list of his many indiscretions which you can read here.
My personal favorite has to be the time he caught his house on fire by lighting fireworks in his bathroom, or the time he was caught with 5000.00 in cash in a bag and when questioned why he was traveling with such a large sum of money in cash, he calmly replied: "Because I'm rich."
Gotta love a guy so detached from reality don't you?
But here are few reasons why Balotelli might just make a positive impact on Liverpool.
1: He doesn't bite people.
While Balotelli is certainly a nutter, at least he doesn't bite people. So that's good right? However, while Suarez's many indiscretions certainly hurt Liverpool as a team in terms of a valuable asset spending 20-30% of his career suspended, and paying him to sit at home on game days, not to mention the distraction of such a character; it should be noted that Suarez rarely cost the team points in a game. On the contrary if Suarez were playing, he was usually winning. In contrast, Balotelli has a habit of hurting his own team (both at the club and international level) when he is playing for them, either by accumulating an assortment of red cards more numerous than his varied tire-tread hairstyles, or by getting into shoving matches with his own coach. It remains to be seen if Rogers can command his respect, curb his disciplinary problems, and consistently get the best from him as Roberto Mancini (a fellow Italian I might add) was never truly able to do.
2: He's interesting to watch.
Balotelli is interesting to watch, no doubt about that. But train wrecks always are. Balotelli has been watched for years and everyone has constantly wondered when he is going to grow up and begin to perform and live up to the expectations of his supreme talent. Everyone is still waiting. In the meantime, watching him live his life as a crazy court bard jester keeps us on the edge of our seats.
3: His arrival must spell the end to the Borini saga.
Fabio Borini must go to Sunderland as a result of Balotelli's arrival. It is interesting to note that Borini is rumored to be valued at 14 million by Sunderland, but Liverpool were able to get Balotelli for only 2 million more than that. Consider what that means. A guy who plays every week, has no disciplinary problems, but is otherwise rather unremarkable, is worth only 2 million less than a guy who has appeared in more tabloids than your average drug addled movie star, but is a household name both for his displays of talent as well as his insane lifestyle. I will be sad to see Borini go, as I never felt he really got a chance to perform for the Reds, but surely this will mean he can move on and hopefully do well at Sunderland. Besides, now would be the time to jump ship if you were an Italian striker if for no other reason than to avoid guilt by association when the inevitable bomb explodes in the Liverpool dressing room.
In the end, only time will tell. Balotelli will either come here and dominate, fix his personal problems and finally grow up, or he will be regarded as the ultimate "I-told-you-so" in Liverpool transfer dealing history. I do not see Balotelli being worth the trouble for all his flashes of brilliance and I am afraid that, unlike Suarez, Balotelli will continue his habit of actually LOSING games for his club, dropping valuable points with his antics instead of providing points in the crunch of the season. If Liverpool were to be serious contenders for the title this season, I think would do better with a player like Borini, than with a distracting headcase like Balotelli.
Either way one thing we can all be sure of is that the ride should be spectacular.