English Premier League 2015-16

Liverpool hope China pays HK$1 billion to name new stand - and take flop Balotelli off their hands

Reports in England says club is working hard in China to sell naming rights for new stand

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 February, 2016, 11:44am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 February, 2016, 11:48am

Liverpool are hoping to convince a Chinese Super League club to take costly flop Mario Balotelli off their hands, according to reports in England – and at the same time trying to woo mainland sponsors.

The club are hoping to sell naming rights for their under-construction new main stand for big money, as well as get Italian striker Balotelli off the wage bill. The widespread nature of the reports point to a briefing from the club.

Balotelli has been a disaster at Liverpool and is currently on a year’s loan at AC Milan. With manager Juergen Klopp uninterested in having him back, the club hope to get rid of him in the summer, with clubs in China and Turkey said to be interested.

Perhaps more intriguingly, Liverpool could follow Manchester City and sell a stake in the club to a mainland investor.

Commercial manager Billy Hogan has been in Asia this week to negotiate with three interested companies over naming rights to the new stand, according to the reports, which would be worth £7 million to £9 million a year for 10 years to the club (HK$78 million to HK$100 million per year).

And Liverpool’s American owners Fenway Sports Group are said to be open to the possibility of a similar deal to that which saw Chinese investors take a 13 per cent stake in Man City.