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West Ham's Italian style

Gianluca Scamacca will be the eighth Italian footballer to wear the West Ham jersey, a tradition as strange as it is fascinating

West Ham's Italian style Gianluca Scamacca will be the eighth Italian footballer to wear the West Ham jersey, a tradition as strange as it is fascinating

Gianluca Scamacca has decided to leave Sassuolo and Serie A to fly to the Premier League and wear the West Ham jersey, thus becoming the eighth Italian player to travel that route. The national team bomber, who received the very coach Mancini's approval for the transfer across the Channel, was thus bought by the Hammers for 36 million euros plus 6 in bonuses plus 10 percent on a future resale in favor of Sassuolo. West Ham's new number 7 thus became the second highest-paid Italian in the Premier League, after Jorginho who in 2018 was paid 60 million plus 3 million in bonuses by Chelsea.

Scamacca's arrival has rekindled in the hearts of fans the usual huge enthusiasm of when an Italian footballer lands in the West London borough, a strange yet fascinating tradition that has now lasted for more than two decades. The Claret&Blue are among the clubs on the rise in recent years in England, with a Europa League semifinal reached last season and Conference qualification in the upcoming year, and throughout their history they have often fished in Serie A to strengthen their squad. Since January 1999 with the arrival of Paolo Di Canio, who became an untouchable legend in Newham, eight of our compatriots have worn the Hammers jersey with various ups and downs.  

Di Canio, never-to-be-forgotten Hammers legend

The first footballer from our country to kick off the love affair between West Ham and the Italians was Paolo Di Canio, in Claret&Blue from January 1999 to July 2003. Four and a half years in which the striker became a true legend of the club, a flag never forgotten by either the fans or the club. In total with the Hammers, "Paolino" collected 138 appearances topped by 50 goals and 16 assists. 

Among the special moments of Di Canio's adventure at West Ham, the fabulous goal scored in 2000 against Wimbledon: long throw from the right, perfect coordination of the striker author of a fantastic bicycle volley. A spectacular technical gesture still remembered as one of the most beautiful in the Premier League. 

Di Michele, a season without great ringing

To see another Italian at West Ham again after Di Canio we will have to wait a good five years, when in the summer of 2008 David Di Michele arrived on loan to London from Torino for a single season without too many highlights. The Roman footballer, wearing the number 32 jersey inherited from a certain Carlitos Tevez, in fact put together 34 appearances during that year realizing only 4 goals and 4 assists. At the end of the season then, which ended with a positive 9th place, however, West Ham decided not to redeem him and Di Michele returned to Italy.

Diamanti and an adventure that lasted too short

In the summer of 2009 Gianfranco Zola, who had become coach of West Ham, asked the club to buy Alessandro Diamanti, who arrived at the Boleyn Ground from Livorno for 7 million euros. Alino took very little time to settle in and immediately entered the hearts of Hammers fans, so much so that he was elected by them as a finalist for the Hammer of the Year award later won by Scott Parker. 

In 30 appearances, the midfielder netted eight goals and dished out six assists, enchanting the Premier League and Upton Park with his left-footed penalties. At the end of the season, despite his strong bond with the team and the fans, he decided to leave and move to Brescia. A choice, however, that Diamanti still mulls over, having called it the worst of his career only a short time ago.

Borriello and Nocerino, two meteors in London

In January 2013, two Italians arrived at West Ham: Marco Borriello and Antonio Nocerino. The striker and midfielder were presented with pomp and circumstance, but their contribution on the field was ultimately minimal. The forward, who arrived on loan from Roma, collected only two appearances in the Premier without ever making his mark. Something more for Nocerino, who played 10 games, of which only two as a starter. A touch-and-go for the two Italians who left England at the end of the season like two meteors.

Ogbonna, the Hammers' other Italian idol

After so many Italians who had no luck at West Ham things changed in 2015 with the arrival of Angelo Ogbonna, who still wears the London team's jersey and has become one of the fans' favorites. The Hammers payed 11 million to Juventus for the defender, who quickly became a pillar of the London rearguard. 200 appearances and no less than 13 goals later, Ogbonna became one of the Hammers' most reliable players until the knee ligament rupture suffered during last season. It was he who welcomed Gianluca Scamacca to the West Ham dressing room, introducing his compatriot to the cult of English soccer and the long Italian tradition in London.

Zaza, a six-month gap in London

In 2016, Simone Zaza arrived in the London borough of Newham, welcomed with great confidence by both the fans and the club, which spent as much as 5 million for the loan alone from Juventus. Instead, we know well how the Italian player's adventure went, with West Ham sending him back as early as January with the Bianconeri then turning him over to Valencia. 

Only 11 appearances with neither goals nor assists for Zaza at West Ham and a relationship with the fans that never blossomed. They were many, in fact, who targeted the Italian striker in England for his listless and unimpressive performances. The hope is that Scamacca will arrive with a whole different enthusiasm in London, ready to enchant the Claret& Blue people.