Monday, March 20, 2023

West Ham United Keeping Tabs On This Premier League Winner: Risk Worth Taking For Pellegrini?

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Abhishek Majumdar
Editor in Chief of The 4th Official. A man in his thirties who worries about the nuances of the financial aspects of football and how it will impact the game in the long term.

According to Tutto Mercato Web, West Ham United are looking to bring in Mario Balotelli from OGC Nice. The former Manchester City player has gone down in the pecking order at his current club Nice and might be on his way out of the Ligue 1 outfit.

The Italian international has been one of the most controversial characters of modern day football and has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons more often than not. However, given his goalscoring abilities and his prior experience of playing in the Premier League, he could be a good acquisition for the Hammers this January.

The east London club are currently in a problematic situation with the future of their star striker Marko Arnautovic, who has been closely linked with a move to the cash-rich Chinese Super League, up in the air. However, recent reports from Metro indicate that the transfer is off after Guangzhou Evergrande reportedly pulled the plug on the deal.

The Austrian has been the talisman for the Hammers this season, having scored seven goals so far and it would not be wise for them to let him leave. 

However, with no guarantee of Arnautovic staying put at the club, Pellegrini is reportedly considering his options and one of them is the former Liverpool striker. The player is one of the most feared strikers on his day but his attitude problems, which have overshadowed his skills all through his career, could be a detriment for the Hammers in making a move for the Italian marksman.

With his physicality and sharp-shooting abilities, the 28-year-old striker could be a handy option for any top class team to lead their line. However, he has not been in the best of forms off late and has not been able to score any goals this season so far in the ten appearances he has made for the Ligue 1 outfit.

From West Ham United’s point of view, the possible departure of Arnautovic would leave them with no options but use Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Lucas Perez and Andy Carroll to lead the line. None of the forwards have looked good enough this season, and no one inside the club would be the right man to replace the Austrian marksman. In this situation, it would be a shrewd move by Pellegrini if he can bring someone like Balotelli to the London Stadium.

The Chilean gaffer has worked very hard this season and had helped a team ravaged by injuries keep their composure and aim for a finish in the top half of the table at least. All his hard work would be undone if he can’t help West Ham keep up their momentum and that might happen if they lose their talisman Arnautovic in January.

Getting a controversial player like Balotelli might not be the best idea in this situation. However, given his prior experience of playing in the Premier League for big clubs like Liverpool and Manchester City and his ability to turn the half chances into goals; it could very well be a masterstroke from Pellegrini if he lands the Italian forward in January. 

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