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What to Expect From West Ham United’s New Signings Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino

West Ham United’s double swoop for Italian internationals Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino this weekend enhances the East London club’s chances for survival exponentially. While both players have been on the fringes of their respective Serie A clubs this season, Sam Allardyce can count on bags of experience and professionalism from both players to try and lift the Hammers spirit and play.

Let’s start with Borriello. He’s been inconsistent throughout his career. He’s had some terrible rough patches but I loved the way he operated in Leonardo’s 4-3-3 system at Milan in the 2009-2010 season after being a mismatch in Carlo Ancelotti’s 4-4-2 diamond. In that season, he scored on multiple volleyed goals and worked well with the likes of Ronaldinho, David Beckham (before he was injured) and Clarence Seedorf to score 14 goals in Serie A play.

I was surprised Marcello Lippi did not select Borriello for the Italian World Cup team and for the 2010 competition in South Africa. Given Italy’s showing, he could have helped the Azzurri avoid embarrassment.

His career at the San Siro stalled when Massimo Allegri took over as the Rossoneri went in a different direction. He was sold to Roma. In his first season in the capital during 2010-11, he was very good but then a management change saw indifferent form and multiple loans. He did score a goal to beat Chievo Verona earlier this season as Roma raced out to the top of the table in Serie A, a place they have since vacated to Juventus.

Now to Nocerino, a player who not long ago was AC Milan’s best midfielder. In the 2011-12 season, he was a Gattuso-like figure replacing the legendary figure in the Rossoneri engine room. His impact was outstanding, finishing second on the team in league goals while playing from a deep lying midfielder position. His influence on each and every match was high. He was selected for the Italian Euro 2012 squad.

A player who once dedicated a goal to the Sandy Hook shooting victims, he is popular and generally thought to be a top professional. However by the end of the 2012-13 season with Milan facing possible Europa League football, he was dropped as the squad made a late run to claim the last Champions League spot.  Then this season the return of Kaka further limited his opportunities and the January signing of the Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda coupled with the sacking of Allegri made the player expendable.

It’s been a rapid fall for Nocerino who played a key role in the run to the Euro 2012 final for Italy and scored a penalty in the shootout versus England in the quarterfinals.

Both players bring a level of experience, professionalism and class to West Ham that has been generally lacking this season. Despite spending lots of money on players from within England, the Hammers have had a lamentable season. Sam Allardyce had a history of going to the continent to acquire talent when at Bolton and early in his West Ham tenure.  Since the Hammers backs are against the wall, Allardyce has gone out and made two swoops for players that can help right away.  There is no guarantee these signings will save the Hammers but I am fairly certain one if not both will help the club at least fight to stay up.

For more Hammers coverage, visit the West Ham United team page for news, analysis and opinion.

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  1. Marco

    January 27, 2014 at 2:08 am

    Bergkamp never made it in serie A but was class for Arsenal as was Henry

    I think its swings and round abouts.

    • Toby

      January 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      But Bergkamp played in Italy in the early 1990s when the Italian league was the toughest in the world. That is why most of the successful Italians in English football came over this period when Italian football was the best. Italian football has been in decline since the 2006 and Italian players have lower quality than the other major national teams, which is why most of their best players are old.

  2. Kartik Krishnaiyer

    January 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm

    Point well taken as many coming from Serie A have flopped but really it’s a mixed bag. I remember how poorly Rolando Bianchi settled when he came to Man City and we shipped him back to Italy after a few months in the next window. But Balotelli was outstanding on the pitch (not so off it) and recently Philippe Coutinho has been a really good buy from Serie A for Liverpool who fit in quickly. Certainly Borini has not worked at Liverpool but was quite good at Swansea and is showing glimpses again at Sunderland. The Italian loanees at Watford did okay last year granted that was in the Championship. But others like Aqualani and Poulsen flopped. Others like Davide Santon have shown flashes but haven’t played consistently enough to be judged one way or another.

    • Toby

      January 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      I’m talking about Italian players not foreign players who come to the BPL from Serie A. Non-Italians adapt far better to the BPL. Balotelli was not outstanding in England. In 3 years he only scored 16 goals. He scored more than that in his first six months back in Serie A, which shows the gulf in quality between Serie A and BPL.

  3. Toby

    January 26, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Italian players are worst kind of players to buy for BPL teams. They never play well outside of Italy because Serie A is a much lower level compared the EPL, which is why players from Serie A always struggle to adapt.

    West Ham signing two bench warmers from Serie A, will just be a disaster because if the best Italian players struggle in the EPL like Balotelli, Osvaldo, Giaccherini and Borini, then expect West Ham to be relegated. Not since the 1990s when Serie A was the best league in the world have Italians made a massive impact on the EPL.

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