We at Football FanCast suggested on May 26 that new West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini should make a move to sign enigmatic striker Mario Balotelli on a free this summer, and he showed exactly why he would be brilliant signing for them on his Italy comeback on Monday night.
The 6ft 2in tall centre-forward was making his first appearance for his country since 2014 having been recalled to the squad following an outstanding campaign with Nice, for whom he scored 26 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions.
The 27-year-old soon-to-be free agent wasted little time taking that form back on to the international stage as his low strike from outside the penalty area gave the Azzurri a 21st-minute lead.
In 58 minutes on the pitch, he had three shots and an impressive passing accuracy of 88%, while he showed that he is willing to work hard defensively too by making two interceptions.
Meanwhile, new Irons boss Pellegrini, who could be set to sign a player that was previously handed an 18-month football ban, may well be looking to bring a new striker to the London Stadium in the next few weeks seeing as he usually plays with two up top, and with Marko Arnautovic proving to be the first-choice in that position last term despite it not being his natural position.
Whether the Austrian reverts back to a wide position or not, it seems clear that Balotelli would be better suited to the striker’s role than Javier Hernandez – who endured a miserable debut campaign with the east London club – while Andy Carroll continues to be plagued with injury issues and Jordan Hugill looks likely to go.
While it won’t be easy to snare the controversial Italian because of his impressive goalscoring record, West Ham should be making a big offer to sign him in order to prove that they mean business again.