Could Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli reignite his career with a move to West Ham?

Balotelli In Italy Kit

West Ham United fans love a maverick striker, so could East London be the perfect place for Liverpool flop Mario Balotelli to reignite his career?

After a miserable season which has seen the former Manchester City and AC Milan star score just four goals for Liverpool, speculation is rife that he will be offloaded by Brendan Rodgers this summer.

The Italian has been linked with a return to Serie A at Sampdoria - as per The Mirror - a club which, like West Ham, enjoys players with something of an edge.

And Balotelli certainly has plenty of edge.

Over the years Hammers fans have loved a rogue. From Frank MacAvennie to Mark Ward through to Julian Dicks and Paolo Di Canio.

More recently the Upton Park faithful were willing bad boy Ravel Morrison to do well, only for him to fall out of favour with boss Sam Allardyce.

Mauro Zarate this season was another who was also swiftly kicked into touch at the first hint of trouble, much to the disappointment of supporters.

Just last week former Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher noted the distinct lack of players of that ilk when commenting on Allardyce's future at the Boleyn.

"West Ham fans, for starters, are craving to see some mavericks in their team, players who will make them look forward to going to games once more," Carragher said in his Daily Mail column.

And he is right on the money. But could Balotelli be that man? Perhaps fans of most clubs would turn their noses up at the Italy international given the season he has had.

There have been mitigating factors, though. Firstly, he was replacing the irreplaceable in many respects when he stepped into Luis Suarez's shoes at Anfield.

Secondly, he was often deployed as a lone striker, not a role he has ever been accustomed to at any of his previous clubs, where he was either used in a strike partnership or as one of the wide forwards in a three-pronged attack.

Thirdly, he has been ploughing a lonely furrow in a team that has been struggling for long periods of the season.

The striker has a decent scoring record, with 79 goals - including 13 for Italy - during his career so far and is still only 24-years-old. He was actually linked with a move to East London when compatriot Gianfranco Zola was Hammers boss and he was still at Inter Milan.

A move to West Ham would prove attractive to him for a number of reasons.

He would be playing in London, a city where there is no time for him to get bored off the field.

The Hammers are just a season away from moving to one of the finest stadiums in Europe, as they leave the Boleyn for the 54,000-seater Olympic Stadium. The club look likely to qualify for the Europa League through the Fair Play route and would need a bigger and better squad.

He would be under less pressure than at Liverpool, and with the Hammers likely to move on the likes of Carlton Cole, Zarate and Nene, it would free up space in a squad which has a number of different options.

At Liverpool, Balotelli only played alongside Daniel Sturridge on a handful of occasions. But at West Ham there is a wider variety of options and he could forge a potentially dangerous partnership with the likes of Diafra Sakho, Enner Valencia or Andy Carroll.

The Hammers have regularly done business with Liverpool over the last few years as Joe Cole, Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing all swapped Merseyside for Upton Park.

Those communication channels could well be opened up again this summer to arrange a move that may just reignite both player and fans alike.

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch