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The success and failures of Italian Hammers

Over the years, a number of Italians have ventured here to play for West Ham and while plenty have fulfilled their promise, others have often fallen short.

You can’t start anywhere else other than Paolo Di Canio. The bloke was an absolute genius, to say the very least. He scored 47 goals in 116 appearances in the famous claret and blue, making him an icon in East London – forever.

It’s difficult to not bring up that scissor kick goal against Wimbledon either, which can arguably go down as one of West Ham’s best ever goals and one of the most iconic in Premier League history.
His flair, ability to create chances out of nothing and passion for the game were just three of the qualities he possessed and which really made him at hit during his four years at Upton Park.

Charlton would be Di Canio’s last club in England, leaving the Hammers in 2003 but after just one season, he returned to his native land and signed for Lazio before a two-year stint with Cisco Roma and eventually retiring. Overall, Di Canio will go down as one of West Ham’s greatest ever signings.

Despite an influx of Italians gracing themselves in East London since, none have been able to achieve the same level of success as Di Canio. That said, one player who perhaps did have a promising season at the club was Alessandro Diamanti, who joined from Livorno in 2009, before leaving the following season for Brescia, despite having signed a five year deal with West Ham.

During his short spell, Diamanti scored seven goals in 28 appearances, becoming very popular among the footbal faithful. At the end of the season, Diamanti was voted runner-up as Hammer of the Year by the club’s supporters, finishing only behind the extremely popular Scott Parker.
His time in East London was short, after announcing he was homesick, but you’ll struggle to find a West Ham supporter who has anything negative to say about the attacking midfielder.

An Italian who was far from successful at West Ham was Simeone Zaza. When he arrived from Juventus back in 2017, there were high expectations of the international winger. West Ham had to fork out to bring him to the club as well, announcing they paid five million euros for the loan, with an obligation to pay 20 million euros after a certain number of Premier League matches.

Fortunately for West Ham’s financial department, that transfer was never activated, as the winger only made eight appearances before he was returned to Juventus and then shipped out on loan to Valencia. Juventus’ eye for talent of usually indisputable, but Zaza was an unfortunate exception to the rule. More recently, they have recruited Aaron Ramsey, who should prove to be a real hit in Italy after a successful campaign with Arsenal. Indeed, the Serie A odds show they are heavy favourites to land yet another title

Another Italian who was unable to find his feet during a stint in London was Antonio Nocerino, who arrived from AC Milan in 2014. Unlike Zaza, Nocerino did rack up double digits in appearances, making ten in total. However, after zero goals and very little impact, Nocerino’s bags were packed and he was sent back to Milan, who loaned him out twice more before eventually selling him to Orlando City in the MLS. Another overrated player who and failed to make any kind of positive statement in London.

West Ham has a history with Italian players, but Di Canio definitely set a high standard which has yet to be achieved by any other Italian who has come over to play in East London. Whoever is next through the door, will know the expectation which is required from them in a West Ham jersey.

 

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The Gaffer
I've been a passionate Hammers fan since i can remember. Growing up in Canning Town i was always down Upton Park as it was only a 10 minute walk down the Barking road. Always and forever COYI ! West Ham Till I Die !
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