Liverpool: Who Better To Replace Suarez's Pure Madness Than Mario?
When a team loses their best player, it's always difficult to class a transfer window as a success, particularly when that player is of Luis Suarez's quality. World class forwards are tough to come by and regardless of the quality of the replacements, it often feels more like damage limitation than restrengthening.
The situation regularly cited as a comparison for Liverpool's transfer window is Tottenham's £100m post-Gareth Bale spending spree; where they replaced their most influential player with a load of big lads and an Argentine winger who's not a***d.
So when Ian Ayre saw £75m sat in his bank account a few months ago, you can understand fans having reservations about how it may be spent; particularly when you consider the club's woeful 13/14 business.
But the Harley-loving CEO took a moment out from getting bevvied to produce Liverpool's best window in years; spending on several positions and helping Brendan Rodgers to form LFC's strongest squad since Houllier's 2001 treble winners.
The first order of business was of course to directly replace the goals and attacking influence of Suarez. Rickie Lambert arrived before the Uruguayan's departure to give Rodgers a superb striking option off the bench.
But the former Southampton man was never meant to be a direct replacement for Suarez, which leads me to the club's pursuit of Alexis Sanchez and the only real negative of this summer.
Very few suitable direct replacements were available following Suarez's exit, so when Sanchez decided he'd rather swan about in that London than Liverpool and chose to move to Arsenal, it felt like a real blow.
But since then it's been nothing but good news, as the club snapped up all their apparent top targets and made the long, cautious, drawn-out negotiations fans had become accustomed to, a thing of the past.
In defence, Dejan Lovren arrived from Southampton for £20m to help turn all those 5-3s into 5-0s, while left-back Alberto Moreno came in from Sevilla to hopefully solve what has been a Reds problem position for many a year.
The other fullback position has also been strengthened with the initial loan signing of Javier Manquillo from Atletico Madrid. It's early days yet but the young right back has been impressive and I think I speak for most LFC fans when I say I hope he makes Glen Johnson's run in the team a distant memory.
Further up the pitch, multi-talented super hunk Emre Can was brought in from Bayer Leverkusen to much acclaim. Those who have watched the £10m midfielder claim he has all the attributes to be a top player and while he's been limited to sub appearances so far, he's sure to play a big role as the season wears on.
Liverpool's biggest signing of the summer was one of their first as Adam Lallana joined the exodus from St Mary's to Anfield. At £25m some have called the attacking midfielder overpriced, but it's hard to deny that the England international has all the qualities Brendan Rodgers looks for in a player.
His confidence and bravery on the ball, ability with either foot, knack for scoring a goal and lovely face mean it'll be quite the shock if Lallana is anything but a success once he returns from injury.
Another that fans have high hopes for is Lazar Markovic, the Serbian winger bought from Benfica for £20m. At just 20 and with just one season in a major European league it could be seen as a gamble, but Markovic's blend of pace, strength, trickery and end product from either flank mean that future greatness is seen as merely a formality.
The team's new diamond formation could hinder his game time but with so many games, he's bound to get his chance and when called upon you'd expect a player of his ability to take it.
And last but not least, there's Mario.
Having strengthened the squad efficiently and sensibly, it seems only right that the club should replace the void of pure madness left by Luis Suarez and who better to do so than Mario Balotelli?
Make no mistake though, we're not just talking about a sideshow here, we're talking about a 24 year old striker possessing immense technique, pace, strength, finishing and dribbling ability with the potential to be one of the very best.
Potential is the key word there and it's by no means a guarantee that the Italian will come good. But with Brendan Rodgers educating him at a crucial period in his career, there's very few places he can expect a better opportunity to fulfil his promise.
It started out as a summer of disappointment, disillusionment and frustration but after superb work from Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers, the Reds look stronger than ever.
Maybe we'll be alright without Suarez after all.