'Special talent' Savio has qualities to reach the top, says Zola

PUBLISHED: 18:23 28 January 2009 | UPDATED: 14:00 05 October 2010

Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Savio Nsereko can become one of the Premier League's leading players after moving to Upton Park in a possible club record deal


West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola believes new signing Savio Nsereko can become one of the Premier League's leading players after moving to Upton Park in a possible club record deal this week.

The Hammers finally completed a move for the German sensation on Tuesday, splashing out up to £9m to take the 19-year-old from Italian Serie B outfit Brescia.

The Under-20 international, who moved to Germany from Uganda when he was two years old, has yet to play a top-flight match and has scored just three goals in his career.

Yet Zola insists the deal is not a risk because Savio possesses the skills to become a "special player".

He said: "I think he is the type of player who catches the eye. He is 19 and he has a lot to learn - but he is not a risk. He has the potential to become a really great player.

"He's one of those players who in one-on-one situations is deadly. In modern football there are not many players with that ability.

"He is quick, he's very good at taking players on and he will always create something for you. That is why he's here - we see in him the potential that belongs to special players."

Zola has urged the Upton Park fans to be patient as the teenage forward adapts to English football, but the Hammers boss is confident that Savio can follow in his own footsteps by becoming one of the country's leading foreign players.

"We have expectations of him but he is 19 years old. He has come here for the future and the crowd needs to be patient with him," Zola said.

"I think he is very similar to the player I was when I was 19 years old. When I was that age I was not the same player I was later, but I was very good at taking players on and that is one of the main qualities that makes the difference between a normal player and a special player.

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