Nobody could have been given more chances than Mario Balotelli. At the age of just 25, he has already played for four of the biggest clubs in Europe. He has stayed at none of them for more than three years, and is certainly a striker West Ham should look to avoid.
Balotelli is currently on a season-long loan at AC Milan from Liverpool, a club where he failed to make any significant impact. Due to injury, he has made only four league appearances for the Rossoneri, and may already be looking to the summer.
From what we saw in the Premier League last season, it is unlikely that Liverpool will want to bring Balotelli back to the club. He scored just one Premier League goal in 16 games, and was dubbed by many as the worst signing of the season.
Brendan Rodgers recently admitted he didn’t want to sign Balotelli, saying “I was asked the question and I felt Mario wasn’t someone who suited the profile of what we were after. Mario has big talent. I wasn’t thinking I’d be any different in terms of managers who’ve had issues with him but, at that moment, we didn’t really have another option.”
It is easy to see why Rodgers was against the idea of signing Balotelli. In his previous spell in England with Manchester City, he provided controversy on and off the field. It was reported that Balotelli was once stopped by Manchester police, who wanted to know why Balotelli had £5,000 in cash in his car, to which the Italian replied “because I’m rich”.
He also managed to set his bathroom on fire by letting off fireworks through his window, an incident which led to the infamous “Why Always Me?” celebration. He picked up a three-match Premier League ban after TV cameras spotted him stamping on Tottenham’s Scott Parker, and eventually left City in January 2013 after a “training ground bust up”, making a move back to his homeland of Italy with AC Milan.
Recently, reports have linked the 25-year-old with a move to West Ham, despite his poor disciplinary record. Slaven Bilic has built his side with a mix of hard working and immensely talented players. Balotelli certainly has the talent, but his attitude could do more bad than good in the West Ham camp. Bilic is a very passionate and demanding manager, and the Italian would certainly not suit his style.
West Ham are currently low on options in the striking department, but Balotelli is not the man to solve that problem. With West Ham still in the hunt for a top seven finish, they will have to go out and buy another striker with injury problems to Diafra Sakho and Andy Carroll, but they can definitely sign someone more suited to their side than Mario Balotelli.