According to The Sun, West Ham have been contacted by Mino Raiola and were offered the chance to sign Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker is currently a free agent after leaving Marseille this summer. And he is looking for a new challenge and his agent Raiola feels West Ham could be an ideal destination. However, the Hammers will have to fork out €4 million per year if they want to sign Balotelli.
Balotelli’s roller coaster ride after leaving Liverpool
Balotelli was a massive flop at Liverpool, after initially arriving in Anfield in a €20 million move from AC Milan back in 2014. He scored only four goals in 28 matches for the Reds before leaving the club in favour of a free transfer to OGC Nice in 2016.
He enjoyed a brilliant spell at Nice, scoring 15 goals in his debut campaign and netting another 18 the following season. But, the 28-year-old eventually moved to Marseille in January after failing to score a single goal during the first half of that campaign with Nice.
However, Balotelli’s adventure at Marseille came to an abrupt end as the club announced his departure this week. He scored an impressive eight goals in 15 matches for Les Olympiens but is now available for free.
Where does Balotelli fit in at West Ham?
Balotelli will be a cost-effective option in West Ham’s bid to replace the departed Marko Arnautovic next season. The Austrian joined Chinese Super League club Shanghai SIPG, which created a large void in the attacking department.
Balotelli, in that regard, could fill in his role as the number nine, with Andriy Yarmolenko and Felipe Anderson partnering him in wider attacking positions. He has already shown that he is still capable of scoring goals regularly and it won’t be a surprise to see him replicating his form in the Premier League next season.
His wages and behaviour issues could be a problem
It’s probably needless to say that Balotelli is one of the most highly controversial strikers in world football. The Italian international has been a subject of several off-field issues in the past, and recently, he was reported to the police after paying a local bar owner €2,000 cash to drive a moped into the sea.
Acts like these could create unrest in the West Ham dressing room, which certainly won’t go down well with Manuel Pellegrini, who is a stickler for discipline. Furthermore, his hefty €4m per year wages is pretty expensive for a striker, who is yet to find his feet in the Premier League. Hence, the Hammers should refrain from signing Balotelli this summer.
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