Manuel Pellegrini has the firepower of Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez and Lucas Perez as he looks to build a West Ham side capable of playing on the front foot this season.

But behind that trio, options are thin on the ground. Jordan Hugill did not fit in at all and has joined boyhood club Middlesbrough on loan.

Xande Silva enjoyed an outstanding Under 23 debut this week but is still very raw. Andy Carroll is still injured and unsuited to Pellegrini’s preferred intricate style.

STRATFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 14: Andy Carroll thanks the fans during a lap of honor after the Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at London Stadium on May 14, 2017 in Stratford, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

Pellegrini may feel he needs more up front. According to French outlet L’Equipe, via TeamTalk, Mario Balotelli is in the Hammers’ sights.

The report says that Nice will not accept less than 10m euros (£8.9m) for the 2011-12 Premier League winner.

It also claims Pellegrini will face competition for the striker; Marseille, Napoli and Torino are all interested in signing Balotelli.

Balotelli has less than a year left on his current contract at Nice, so a deal could be done. However, Pellegrini should abandon his interest.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – AUGUST 12: Manuel Pellegrini manager / head coach of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United at Anfield on August 12, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Not the right man

Balotelli’s agent Mino Raiola called his client one of the world’s top strikers; but he isn’t. His attitude is still a concern and he has never succeeded in the Premier League.

Pellegrini wants to press the ball high up the pitch; Balotelli does not suit that approach. Further, he is not a good character to have in the dressing room.

Pellegrini is trying to build a team and Balotelli is an individual. West Ham should steer well clear.