Liverpool will not complete a deal to sign AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli in time for the Italian to make his debut against former club Manchester City in the Premier League on Monday.
The move would have to go through by noon on Friday, but talks continue as Liverpool seek assurances about Balotelli’s commitment and discipline.
The club are ready to offer him a five-year deal worth over £120,000 a week.
A fee of £16m has been agreed for the 24-year-old’s transfer to Anfield.
Balotelli remains in Italy while his agent is in England trying to agree personal terms with Liverpool.
The Italian will only travel to Merseyside for a medical once Liverpool are satisfied the player is committed to upholding agreed standards of behaviour.
Balotelli played for Manchester City for three seasons from 2010 to 2013, scoring 20 goals.
He was a big hit with City supporters during his first spell in England, helping the club win a first league title since 1968.
But he was also in the headlines for several off-the-pitch incidents – including a training-ground row with then-manager Roberto Mancini.
In his second season in Manchester, he scored only three goals in 20 games.
The striker agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Milan in January 2013, and played for Italy at the World Cup in Brazil.