Premier League strugglers West Ham have completed the loaning signing of AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino and are close to bringing in Roma striker Marco Borriello.
Both players have decent pedigree in Italy, but can they help the Hammers survive the drop?
Nocerino has joined until the end of the season and should Borriello complete his move he will join on a similar basis. West Ham boss Sam Allardyce has been frustrated in his attempts to bring new players to the club in the January transfer window.
Big Sam lost out to Everton in the race to sign giant Monaco striker Lacina Traore on-loan, but looks to have now expanded his squad.
Nocerino and Borriello have good pedigree having played for Italian giants AC Milan and Juventus. The players were both highly-rated at some point of their careers and have won caps for Italy at international level. However, they looked to have lost their way in recent years.
Nocerino has made just 11 appearances for AC Milan this season and is out-of-favour at the San Siro. It appears that the midfielder was not in new AC Milan boss Clarence Seedorf’s plans for the future.
Nocerino failed to establish himself at Juve, before numerous loan moves lead to the midfielder finally making his name at Palermo and earning a big move to Milan. Since his move to AC Milan he has made over 70 appearances, struggling to ever hold down a regular place in the Rossoneri’s starting line-up.
Borriello started his career off at AC Milan and also made a number of loan moves, without ever fulfilling early career promise. He has made just six appearances for Roma this season, after spending last season out on loan at Genoa, a club where he had enjoyed his most prolific scoring campaign in season 2007-2008, scoring 19 goals.
Marco Boriello is not a prolific goalscorer by any stretch of the imagination. Then again it is hard to sign prolific goalscorers in the transfer market, especially in January and on-loan to boot. Boriello has enjoyed decent scoring spells and will add something to the Hammers attack though.
The 31-year-old is looking to play games in order to play himself into the Italy squad for this summer’s World Cup.
Antonio Nocerino will add some guile to the West Ham midfield. The 28-year-old has experience of playing at the highest level with AC Milan in the Champions League and with Italy playing in the 2012 European Championships.
West Ham are in an almighty struggle to stay in the Premier League this season. The Hammers are currently third from bottom in the Premier League table, but have the same amount of points as rock-bottom Cardiff.
The Hammers have endured a nightmare season for injuries, with the biggest absence, in every sense of the word being Andy Carroll’s. The club’s record signing has only just returned to action, after spending the whole season sidelined by injury.
The strikers return could be vital in keeping the Irons in the top-flight, potentially much more vital than any possible incoming signings. The striker has the ability to terrify defenders, unfortunately in recent months he has just been terrifying doctors.
A fit Andy Carroll is just the man to help lead the Hammers away from the drop zone. The Hammers have missed a focal point to their attack, with the likes of Carlton Cole and Modibo Maiga proving unconvincing up front, although the former has scored a few vital goals.
Both Nocerino and Borriello will be desperate to impress to get into that Italy squad for the summer’s World Cup in Brazil. The pair will know that if they impress in the Premier League with West Ham then they are far more likely to make the plane to Brazil.
The pair will add experience to the West Ham squad, but I am unconvinced that their signings will be enough to help save the Hammers from the drop to the Championship this season. Irons boss Allardyce has obviously had to cut his cloth accordingly with the players he could sign in January.
West Ham were never going to sign world-beaters in the winter transfer window. Only time will tell if Nocerino and Borriello are masterstroke signings or flops. The Hammers are currently odds of 6/4 to survive the drop this season, the effect the two Italians have on the Irons season remains to be seen.
Is Italian pair what West Ham need to survive the drop?