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Deadline Day Transfer: Unsettled Balotelli joins Nice on a permanent deal

Liverpool and Mario Balotelli have finally ended their malfunctioning association, with the striker signing for Nice on a free transfer.

The 26-year-old was only due to be out of contract next summer, but the Reds pushed to get him off the books completely 737 days after taking a £16 million gamble on the Italian.

The Ligue 1 side had originally slated a season-long loan for Balotelli, but negotiations continued well into deadline day for a more permanent solution, which was agreed after he passed a medical.

Nice ousted FC Sion and Palermo to acquire the talented yet troubled forward. He will train for the first time with his new team-mates on Thursday morning, before being officially unveiled on Friday.

Club president Jean-Pierre Rivere, the driving force behind the deal, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Mario.

“We hope that Nice, in a family atmosphere, will help him rediscover his joy for the game.

“We both know that nothing will be easy, but with the desire and support of all our fans, we’ll help him to flourish and bring his talent to the service of the team.”

Negotiations over a transfer had not been straightforward since Balotelli travelled to the south-east coast of France for talks last week.

An initial consultation with Rivere and senior officials following the Europa League draw proved obstructive to an agreement.

The three-time Serie A winner gave off the impression that Nice would be lucky to have him, rather than displaying a willingness to recalibrate his career at the club.

However, a follow-up meeting on Saturday morning proved more productive. There was also a separate gathering with the coaching staff to determine their thoughts on working with Balotelli.

Manager Lucien Favre needed some convincing, but a vote was held in the affirmative to push on with proceedings.