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West Ham join the hunt for Mario Balotelli - report
Photo credit should read CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images

West Ham join the hunt for Mario Balotelli - report

According to reports in Italy, Mario Balotelli is the latest striker linked with a move to West Ham.

West Ham are eyeing potential replacements for China-linked Marko Arnautovic and Balotelli is another on the radar.

According to Italian media outlet Tutto Mercato Web, West Ham have been monitoring OGC Nice striker Balotelli, who reportedly wants out.

Marko Arnautovic situation

Marko Arnautovic has been linked with a move to China. (Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images)

West Ham have lined up some replacements in case star striker Arnautovic decides to leave this month. The 29-year-old is trying to force an exit with the riches of China tempting him to leave West Ham.

According to The Daily Mail, Guangzhou Evergrande have cooled their interest in the Austrian forward, who has scored 19 goals for West Ham.

The potential move to China would have cost £45m with Arnautovic potentially earning £280,000-per-week.

Who is Mario Balotelli?

Mario Balotelli scored 30 goals for Manchester City. (Photo by Sam Bagnall/AMA/Corbis via Getty Images)

If Arnautovic does move to China, West Ham could move for Balotelli. Marseille lead the race for the Italian striker with Genoa also interested, as per Tutto Mercato Web.

The 28-year-old was in impressive form last season, netting 25 times in 36 games. But he has failed to score in any of his 10 outings for Nice this term.

Balotelli will be remembered by Premier League fans for his spells with Manchester City and Liverpool.

The 36-cap Italy international has always been a controversial figure, with 21 goals and three red cards in the Premier League.

Balotelli has also had controversial moments away from the pitch and once celebrated with a message on his shirt saying: “Why always me?”

West Ham could bring Balotelli in as their new leading striker if Arnautovic departs this month.