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West Ham should reunite Mario Balotelli and Marko Arnautovic as potential cult status strikeforce

The former Manchester City and Liverpool striker has matured in Nice.

Mathew Nash

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Photo: Getty Images

It looks as though English football could be welcoming back one of it’s more mercurial figures in the summer. Italian striker Mario Balotelli has been linked with a return to the UK, following quotes by his agent, Mino Raiola, as reported by ESPN.

Of course, he is well-known for his antics whilst at Manchester City and Liverpool. He made more headlines off the pitch than on it. His performances were often labelled as lazy and disinterested but Balotelli has resurrected his career over the past two seasons.

The Italian enigma took the strange career choice of heading to France, joining Ligue 1 side Nice in 2016.

(Photo by Marco Rosi/Getty Images)

The results have been clear. The 27-year-old has scored 39 goals in 58 games for the club including 22 this season. It is not just on the pitch things have improved. Balotelli has matured off the field and the headlines are now restricted to the pitch.

So should West Ham United take advantage of this situation?

As much as Balotelli has improved, it is unlikely one of the big clubs will risk his signature. After seeing the way Liverpool were burned after his signature, the 27-year-old is still off the grid.

West Ham, who will need to ensure Premier League safety first, would be the perfect location for Balotelli.

The Italian would see the chance to play at the London Stadium as a big opportunity, rather than a burden. Balotelli would also immediately become a cult sensation among West Ham fans. The Hammers need a new striker. Andy Carroll’s injury record has nearly rendered him redundant. Javier Hernandez and Marko Arnautovic cannot go on carrying the torch forever.

The Austrian could also play a big factor. Like Balotelli, he was once a troubled star, who has turned his career around. The pair played together at Inter Milan, where they formed a special albeit mischievous relationship.

(Photo by Fabio Iona/AFP/Getty Images)

West Ham fans have taken to Arnautovic as one of their own. If Balotelli could arrive and have a similar impact, creating a strong link up with the Hammers hero then it would be an excellent move from the Hammers hierarchy.

West Ham fans need an eye-catching transfer this summer. Balotelli could be exactly that.

An attacking triumvirate of Arnautovic, Balotelli and Hernandez? That will excite any West Ham fan.

Everton

£3m Roberto Martinez project Shani Tarashaj thrown on to Everton scrapheap

The Swiss talent has not developed into the star Everton’s former boss hoped he would.

Mathew Nash

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It appears as though Shani Tarashaj is finally on his way out of Everton for good. This morning he completed a loan move back to his former club Grasshoppers Zurich, with a view to a permanent move next summer.

With the potential of a permanent move to Grasshoppers, it would bring the curtain down on a move that simply never worked out.

Tarashaj joined Everton back in January 2016. Then Everton boss Roberto Martinez signed the attacking midfielder Shani Tarashaj from Grasshoppers with the fee involved, according to the Liverpool Echo, around £3 million.


“I feel he is going to bring something very, very special to us. He is probably the best young talent in Swiss football.

“There are a couple of young players with a good reputation but I think he could have really good future…I feel that he’s going to get fans off their feet. He’s that type of young talent that we like to attract to Goodison.” 

  – Roberto Martinez after signing Tarashaj


Tarashaj was loaned back to Grasshoppers until the end of the season. He continued his fine form, which saw him earn a first Swiss cap and make the national squad for Euro 2016.

(Photo credit should read MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

But things quickly went wrong for Tarashaj.

Martinez was sacked, with Ronald Koeman clearly not fancying the Swiss star. A loan move in Germany went poorly. Eintracht Frankfurt snapped him up but he struggled with benign angina, severe tonsillitis and a knee ligament tear last summer compounded his misery.

Everton now face the fact they will likely lose Tarashaj next summer, without the 23-year-old ever playing a game for the club.

This £3 million gamble has clearly not paid off.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Now valued at £31.3m, Tottenham could have got Cengiz Under for £11.7m

Tottenham tried to sign the Roma winger last summer, but he headed to Italy.

Mathew Nash

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It seems that AS Roma winger Cengiz Under is a wanted man this summer. Manchester City are reportedly keen on the player, after an excellent debut season in Serie A. As reported by Calciomercato the Turkish international has a fond admirer in the form of City boss Pep Guardiola.

That has since seen his market value make the headlines. It is reported by Hurriyet that Under is valued at €35 million (£31.3 million). That report also suggests Tottenham are keen on the player. It seems unlikely and rather interesting timing, considering it came just hours after an opinion piece in the British press about Tottenham revisiting their previous interest.

(Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Because Spurs were keen on the player last summer.

Ajanspor reported at one point that Tottenham were close to signing the player from Istanbul Basaksehir. However, he headed to Roma instead. The player himself spoke of why he decided on Italy over the UK.


“I was convinced after we heard Monchi’s plan. Monchi [Roma’s director of football] explained they were making big changes. He made it clear that he wanted me as a player for the first-team squad, not as a future prospect. He valued me as a footballer in my own right now, as a rising star with potential.”

Cengiz Under on why he chose Roma


Under has since gone on to have a great season in the Italian capital and has clearly caught the eye of other clubs.

The fee he joined Roma for was a bargain. The Giallorossi snapped up Under for a fee of just £11.7 million.

Tottenham must no doubt regret not managing to secure a deal for the player last summer. He was at a bargain price and proved to be a successful recruit.

If Tottenham want him again in the future, they are looking at paying double what they might have 12 months ago.

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Everton

Marco Silva should aim for Christian Kabasele reunion at Everton

The Belgian defender would be an astute addition for the Toffees.

Max Cohen

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Christian Kabasele
Photo: Getty Images

Everton are still without a signing this transfer window, but the side requires strengthening, nonetheless, especially in the centre-back position.

Marco Silva should target Christian Kabasele to bolster his defensive options, a player he knows well from his time managing at Watford.

Kabasele began his career in Belgium and enjoyed success at Genk before moving to Vicarage Road in the summer of 2016.

The centre-half has been capped once by Belgium, as he made the Euro 2016 squad and was cut at the last moment in the Red Devils’ World Cup 2018 team.

His international involvement and the fact he was even being considered in the star-studded Belgium set-up is a measure of his talent.

(Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

At Watford, the defender bagged four goals in 44 appearances, illustrating his threat from set pieces.

He was also the most consistent performer at the back for the Hornets, eliciting praise from the Watford support.

Everton fans in particular will know the danger the Belgian poses, as Kabasele flicked home a powerful header at Goodison Park during a league meeting in November 2017.

Marco Silva knows the defender well, as he played in every league match when Silva was the manager, starting all but one.

And the Portuguese has praised the Belgian in the past, hailing his performance when talking with the Hertfordshire Mercury in 2017, after a 3-0 win at St. James’ Park.

“Kabasele was brilliant. He had a fantastic game. He improves every day. He had a very good game with and without the ball and even with offensive set-pieces he has improved.”

As Everton supporters wait for their first signing of the summer, the club would do well to target Christian Kabasele, a proven Premier League centre-back who is a favourite of the Toffees boss.

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