For West Ham United fans Mario Balotelli is like Marmite, some love the thought of signing him, others not so much.
West Ham have been persistently linked with a move for Italian striker Balotelli since January.
Manuel Pellegrini is desperately in need of a new striker or two after letting Andy Carroll, Lucas Perez and Marko Arnautovic leave.
West Ham’s protracted pursuit of Celta Vigo forward Maxi Gomez proved fruitless (Sky Sports).
Fortune’s – and strikers – always hiding
Aleksandar Mitrovic has signed a new deal at Fulham and Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson looks set to follow suit (Evening Standard).
Salomon Rondon has been linked with a move to China (The Sun).
And Moussa Marega is reportedly set for a move to Wolves (The Mirror).
That has prompted talk the Hammers could turn to bad boy Balotelli, who was linked with a switch to West Ham back in January (talkSPORT).
And reliable West Ham insider ExWHUemployee has claimed Balotelli is on Pellegrini’s list this summer too.
Speaking on The West Ham Way podcast on Phoenix FM (Wednesday 12th June) and several times on Twitter since, ExWHUemployee told listeners Balotelli was one of a few strikers being considered.
Hammers linked with Super divisive Mario
But a new report from fellow West Ham website Claret & Hugh claims talk of Pellegrini wanting Balotelli is false.
The site claims to have a top source inside the club. And they have reported that there is ‘absolutely no chance of the maverick striker coming to the club’.
“According to sources inside the London Stadium – one of whom spoke to us on the ‘phone – the Hammers boss has absolutely no interest in the striker,” Claret & Hugh reports.
“He (the source) said: “He’s not the type of guy who would interest the boss at all. The manager is only interested in team players.”
If true, that will be a relief to supporters who were not keen on the divisive figure coming to West Ham.
Many feel Balotelli, on a free transfer, would be worth the gamble.
In Pellegrini we trust whatever your view on Balotelli
They believe he has matured since his Manchester City days. Back then Balotelli was more famous for his actions off the field than those on it.
Balotelli allegedly paid the owner of a Naples bar nearly £2,000 to ride his moped into the sea before then posting the footage on Instagram and was pictured celebrating by smoking a cigarette.
Yes West Ham fans love a maverick. But one that works hard and does the business on the pitch.
According to C&H Pellegrini is unequivocal about the Balotelli situation.
And whatever fans think they will back the manager’s judgement.