Is Mario Balotelli the maverick striker West Ham fans crave?

Mario Balotelli of Italy in action during a Italy training session at Juventus Center Vinovo on June 3, 2018 in Vinovo, Italy.

West Ham United should attempt to sign the Italy international this summer.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli celebrates after scoring a second goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Nice and Lokomotiv Moscow on February 15, 2018, at the...

According to Turkish media outlet Aspor, West Ham are keen on signing Mario Balotelli this summer, and if they do manage to bring him to east London, he could turn out to be the enigmatic maverick that the Hammers fans have historically craved.

The West Ham faithful have latched on to their maverick heroes throughout the years, with the likes of Julian Dicks, Paolo Di Canio and Dimitri Payet all earning cult status at the club.

And Balotelli possesses the kind of talent that could see him join those names.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Balotelli (C) celebrates after scoring during the French L1 football match Nice vs Caen on May 12, 2018 at the Allianz Rivieira in Nice, southeastern France. (...

The Italian has spent the last two seasons in France with Nice, and has really impressed, chalking up 42 goals in just 64 appearances in all competitions.

The Hammers currently lack a prolific goalscorer, and in spite of Marko Arnautovic's fine form last season, they desperately need to add an established striker to their ranks this summer.

The 27-year-old forward is available on a free transfer, so any kind of risk involved in signing him would be limited.

Nice's Italian forward Mario Barwuah Balotelli controls the ball during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and OGC Nice on December 11, 2016 at the Parc des...

Balotelli is a controversial character, but there have been signs over the past two years that he has finally matured as both a footballer and a human being.

He still has plenty of years left ahead of him, and if he manages to channel his best form, he could be a sensational signing for West Ham.

His availability on a free means that there will surely be plenty of potential suitors for his signature, however, so the Hammers won't have things all their own way.

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