West Ham Opinion: Why the Hammers should take a punt on Mario Balotelli
According to a report from the Daily Mirror, West Ham have been offered the chance to sign free agent Mario Balotelli. The 28-year-old striker is a free agent after his contract expired at French side Marseille at the end of the season.
West Ham are scouring the transfer market for a centre-forward, having recently sold the controversial Marko Arnautovic to Chinese club Shanghai SIPG.
They have already released Andy Carroll and sold Lucas Perez to Spanish club Alaves, which means Manuel Pellegrini is currently left with Javier Hernandez and Jordan Hugill in the striking department and the club are ready to listen to offers for both.
The Daily Mirror reports that the Hammers are interested in signing Bournemouth star Callum Wilson, but the Cherries expect him to sign a lucrative new four-year deal next week.
Pellegrini hoped to hijack long-term target Maxi Gomez’s move to Valencia, having made the Celta Vigo striker his top choice to bolster his front-line.
Now, with Gomez set to sign for Valencia, West Ham should snap up free agent Mario Balotelli.
The Italy international impressed during a six-month spell with Marseille last term, netting eight goals in 12 Ligue 1 starts. The season before he was even better with OGC Nice, scoring 26 goals in 38 appearances. And the enigmatic 28-year-old would be an interesting option for the Hammers, despite the obvious risk involved.
Balotelli is a colourful character both on and off the pitch—unplayable on his day, but his attitude and off-field antics often undermine his performances on the pitch.
His two spells in England returned mixed results. He scored 30 times in three seasons with Manchester City and won the Premier League title. But he failed to set the world alight at Liverpool, managing only four goals in a season at Anfield.
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If West Ham manage to sign Balotelli, he’ll arrive at the London Stadium on the back of a prolific spell with Marseille and chances of him being a success would be high. His availability on a free transfer greatly reduces any risk involved for the Hammers as well.
Balotelli has plenty of experience playing at the very highest level and West Ham shouldn’t hesitate to take a punt on the Italian hit-man.