Gianfranco Zola’s knowledge of Italian football is paying dividends for the Hammers. In todayâ€™s Times of London it is reported that as well as tying up a loan deal with Inter Milan for Luis Jimenez the Eastenders have also convinced the Nerazurri to loan them Alessandro Faiolhe Amantino – more commonly referred to as simply Mancini.
Mancini began his career as a right back at Atletico Mineiro in Brazil before eventually moving to Italy when Roma signed the right-sided footballer back in 2002. But life in Italy’s capital was far from smooth sailing for Mancini at the beginning, the wide-man finding himself behind in the pecking order to fellow countryman Cafu. But once Cafu moved to Milan, then Roma boss Fabio Capello threw Mancini straight into the mix, where the player became a stalwart in an exciting Roma team. Sadly Mancini was soon blighted by injury, which limited the number of games he played for the Giallorossi over the course of two seasons.
By the time he had regained full fitness Capello had left the club and it was Luciano Spalletti who spotted Manciniâ€™s potential as a winger. In tandem with Totti and Cassano, the Roma forward-line became a joy to watch and one of the most feared in Italy.
Mancini brought to the party a whole host of abilities. Predominantly right footed, he can hug the right touchline bringing natural width to any attack as well as cutting in to look for killer through ball to put him in one on one with the goalkeeper.
His step-over’s became feared in Italy, as he left many a defender bamboozled before delivering a killer pass or finish. His awareness and ability to pick out a pass are also of the highest order, while the Brazilian can also boast an impressive strike rate of 40 goals in 154 games for the Romans.
By the start of last season, Mancini’s form was good that Jose Mourinho went out to claim the wing-back as his first signing at Inter. Sadly, though, Mancini struggled under the Special One, with some claiming Brazilian’s inability to stick to the rigid tactical formations, together with his long-standing injury curse, limiting his appearances to just twenty throughout last season. As such, Mancini is now seen as surplus to requirements in Milan.
If – and its a big if – Mancini is able to stay fit during his loan period, the Hammers will have acquired an exciting talent who is capable on making a lasting impression on the Premier League. On the flipside, Hammers’ fans will be praying that Mancini does not proved to be Kieron Dyer II.
Video evidence of Mancini can be seen here and here.