Gianfranco Zola backs Alessandro Diamanti to shine in Premier League

Alessandro Diamanti can continue his meteoric rise by becoming a Premier League superstar at Upton Park, according to Gianfranco Zola

By JONATHAN CLEGG

Alessandro Diamanti can continue his meteoric rise by becoming a Premier League superstar at Upton Park, according to West Ham boss Gianfranco Zola.

Diamanti was playing in Italy's third tier just two years ago before securing his big move to Serie B outfit Livorno.

The 26-year-old forward made a major impact at the Stadio Armando Picchi, netting 18 goals in 37 league and cup matches as Livorno clinched promotion to Italy's top flight.


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Now Diamanti has swapped Serie A for the Premier League after signing a five-year deal at West Ham.

And Zola believes the classy playmaker can continue his stunning progress by emerging as a top Premier League performer.

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"He's certainly a good player and potentially he could be a superstar. He is a classic No10, very skilful," Zola said of the striker, who has drawn comparisons to former Hammers favourite Paolo Di Canio.

"He's got a very good left foot and he is a player who can score goals and produce."

Free-kick specialist Diamanti has also been likened to Zola for his dead-ball prowess.

But despite their similarities, Zola admits he has no idea how Diamanti will fit into his West Ham team.

He said: "Where I'm going to play him, I don't know yet. I've got some ideas, but I'm waiting to see how he fits into the team and then we'll decide.

"I'll do my best to make sure he can fit in the team and adapt to the Premier League, but the rest is down to him obviously.

"It's a big opportunity for him. He's got the desire to succeed and that's all that matters to me."

The arrival of Diamanti ended West Ham's long search for forward reinforcements as the club finally eased their shortage of firepower.

The Hammers had been linked with a host of names over the summer, only to enter the new Premier League season with Carlton Cole as the only fit senior striker at the club.

But they were finally able to conclude a deal for Diamanti last Friday after sponsors SBOBET agreed to stump up cash to help pay the �4m fee.

Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury said: "I must offer personal thanks to our sponsors SBOBET and their executive director Bill Mummery.

"Their backing, along with the efforts of Gianfranco and Gianluca Nani this week, has enabled me to finalise the deal.

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