THE RETURN of Italian soccer star Mario Balotelli to England could be good news for Leek's traders. The multi-millionaire made several shopping expeditions to the town while he was with Manchester City, before departing back to his homeland to play for AC Milan.
The controversial 24-year-old striker has signed for Liverpool in a £16 million move that will earn him an additional £2 million a year, on top of his £90,000-a-week salary, if he manages to stay out of trouble.
One Leek trader was puzzled by the 'bad boy' image associated with Balotelli while he was a Manchester City player, after his scrapes with officialdom both on and off the field.
She described Balotelli as 'a charming man and a perfect gentleman' after he visited her cafe on one of his trips into Leek from his Cheshire home.
Apparently, Balotelli had a particular liking for the Getliffe's Yard shops.
After agreeing a three-year deal with Liverpool there will be plenty of opportunities for Balotelli to contribute generously again to the local economy – providing, of course, he manages keep in the good books of Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers.