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Italian Hammers – The good, the bad and the ugly

Italian Hammers – The good, the bad and the ugly

 

How many Italian players do you think we have signed over the years?

Go on, have a guess…

It was a lot more than I thought, as we have signed nine Italian players in the Club’s history.

The first was also the most successful, the peerless  Paolo Di Canio, who scored 51 goals in 141 eventful appearances between January 1999 and May 2003.

The Rome-born forward helped the Irons finish fifth in his first half-season, seventh in 2001/02, but then ended his career in Claret and Blue by suffering relegation in his final campaign in east London.

Five years later, newly-appointed Italian manager Gianfranco Zola signed compatriot David Di Michele on a season-long loan from Torino. The forward marked his home debut with two goals in a Premier League win over Newcastle United and then nothing.

July 2009 saw Alessandro Diamanti arrive on a permanent transfer from Livorno. The flamboyant forward spent just one season at West Ham, but marked it by being voted runner-up to Scott Parker in the Hammer of the Year voting.

West Ham’s next Italian signings were to put it kindly, less memorable – Antonio Nocerino and Marco Borriello both arrived in January 2014, but departed months later without having made an impression, while the goal-shy striker Simone Zaza’s spell was also short-lived following his arrival from Juventus in August 2016.

In between, the admirable Angelo Ogbonna also arrived from Juventus in summer 2015 and the defender has become a real fans’ favourite during his eight seasons in east London.

Ogbonna has been joined at the London Stadium this season by two fellow Italy internationals, left-back Emerson and the permanently crocked striker Gianluca Scamacca, who have joined from Olympique Lyonnais and Sassuolo respectively.

 

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