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TT Battle: Mario Balotelli vs Fernando Llorente at West Ham

West Ham United will have to continue their search for a striker capable of finding the back of the net on a regular basis this summer.

The wait continues to go on for those in the stands at the London Stadium as it has been far too long since they saw a forward able to get them off their seats and celebrating a large number of times.


If the Hammers were able to find a striker that were able to provide them with the goals, then there is no reason as to why Manuel Pellegrini’s side can start to challenge some of the Premier League’s bigger sides and compete for a place in European football in the not too distant future.

Two men who have been linked with a switch to West Ham recently have bundles of experience to offer, although whether they would be the answer to their goalscoring woes remains to be seen.

Mario Balotelli and Fernando Llorente are both men that have been rumoured with moves to the London Stadium, however, which man would be best to join the club this summer? Let’s take a look at the duo in detail and compare them below in one of our ‘Transfer Battles’…

Mario Balotelli

We can guarantee we were not the only ones to have raised eyebrows when the rumours emerged that West Ham were interested in signing Balotelli this summer. According to a report by Fotomac (via Sport Witness), the Hammers are thought to be keen on snapping him up when his contract with Olympique de Marseille expires – maybe that is the reason as to why?

Sure, the 28-year-old still has bundles of talent and has shown that he can find the back of the net on a consistent basis (although Liverpool fans would probably disagree). He hit eight goals in his 14 Ligue 1 appearances for Olympique de Marseille in his short stay, however, the Italian has proven time and time again that he is nothing more than a liability – and with Marko Arnautovic still at the club, the Hammers certainly do not need another headache on their books.

Drama seems to follow the man who famously wore ‘Why always me?’ under his Manchester City shirt and has proven to be a difficult individual to tame when required. Pellegrini does not have the time to be able to deal with it on a regular basis.

Admittedly, Balotelli has the Premier League experience that can benefit West Ham and their quest to go to the next level, however, he has been far from prolific enough and it is unlikely he would be happy to play a bit-part role if he were to join them this summer.

TT Grade: C

Fernando Llorente

The surprising rumours continue to come thick and fast where West Ham and their search for a striker are concerned. The Sun have recently claimed that the Hammers are taking an interest in Tottenham Hotspur’s Llorente this summer as his contract is set to expire following the Champions League final.

Now, just like Balotelli, he might not be prolific enough to lead the Irons into battle next season, however, he could be an excellent option for Pellegrini to call upon from the substitutes bench – ala Mauricio Pochettino-style.

He might be edging closer to the end of his career, however, the Spaniard has proved that he can still come up with the goods at vital times and can still make a positive difference at the top-level; if he is good enough for Barcelona (allegedly), then surely he is good enough for West Ham?

He is the type of striker that could thrive in the system that the manager likes to adopt at the London Stadium as he is more than used to playing in a lone-striker role whilst he also has the physical presence and aerial ability to make him a threat. Being available on a free transfer, it would have to be seen as a relatively low-risk move.

TT Grade: B-

The Verdict:

On the face of things, Balotelli and Llorente would have to be considered nothing more than back-up strikers for a club of West Ham’s recent ambitious aims and don’t quite fit the profile of what they currently need at the London Stadium.

However, if they were to make a move for one of the soon-to-be-free-agents this summer, then surely the veteran Spaniard is the man they should look to turn to.

Llorente has proven he can still offer something in the Premier League with his performances for Tottenham and the Hammers could benefit from having a player of his experience in the squad as they look to climb the top-flight ladder.

West Ham fans, do you agree with the outcome of this battle? Let us know what you think below!

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