Whizzkid Savio will make Hammers a Euro force, says Nani
PUBLISHED: 10:03 21 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 05 October 2010
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EXCLUSIVE: West Ham technical director Gianluca Nani insists that Savio Nsereko can transform the club from Euro failures into top-six challengers next season
By JONATHAN CLEGG
West Ham technical director Gianluca Nani insists that Savio Nsereko can transform the club from Euro failures into top-six challengers next season.
The Hammers' hopes of securing a Europa League berth were extinguished in last weekend's defeat at Everton, as a run of only two wins in the past nine games proved costly.
But Nani is convinced the Hammers can emerge as genuine European contenders next season after tipping Germany Under-20 ace Savio to make a major impact.
He said: "This was a good season but we are confident that next season we will be better.
"Savio is a young player with a big future. He's still a young boy and he's coming from another country, but we are really confident about him."
Much was expected of the 19-year-old
whizzkid when he joined the Hammers in a possible club record deal in January - just days after Craig Bellamy's £14m switch to Manchester City.
Savio was touted as a ready-made replacement for the Wales striker, but has struggled to make an impression in 10 first-team appearances - and has even lost his place to homegrown teenager Junior Stanislas in recent weeks.
But Nani has urged fans to be patient with the former Brescia star, adding that Savio was not signed to replace Bellamy, but to help West Ham develop a new style of attacking play.
Nani said: "Savio is not a replacement for Bellamy - he doesn't play the same position and he's not that kind of player. At that time, we wanted to change the way we were playing.
"One of the good things about Gianfranco Zola is that he can change the way we play in terms of formation - we've started to play
4-3-2-1 and then 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2.
"Maybe next season it will be Ashton and Cole [up front], which means a different way of playing. Savio will be part of our future.
"But he has not had one day of rest during the last year - last summer, he was in the European Under-19 championships, then without any rest he was back at Brescia, then in January he had no time off before coming here. He needs time.