West Ham United’s January transfer window went to plan in that they brought in the striker which Sam Allardyce so desperately craved. Marco Borriello has been welcomed to Upton Park on a season-long loan deal from Italian Serie A side Roma, and he brings a reasonably good goalscoring record with him too. In 28 appearances for Genoa last season, Borriello found the back of the net on 12 occasions.
At 6’1”, the Naples born striker also has the aerial threat that Allardyce usually looks for in a player. He has previously played in the same side as Ronaldinho and Kaka so he certainly has played alongside the best in the game. The main disadvantage for the temporary signing of Borriello is that you can already tell that he is not going to make many appearances.
Andy Carroll will definitely be Big Sam’s first choice striker after paying £15m for him in the summer, with Carlton Cole next in the pecking order. We all know that Allardyce is not going to alter from playing with only one up front, so it is clear already that Borriello will be the club’s third choice striker
If the former Milan man can force his way into the side, he could become a very important player, but it will be tough to get Sam to alter his philosophy. Borriello should take Adrian’s attitude as an example. The Spanish goalkeeper came to the club as back-up for Jussi Jaaskelainen, yet his cup performances and attitude both on and off the pitch saw him take the Finn’s place between the sticks within months .
Obviously the Hammers are now out of both cup competitions so Borriello won’t be able to use that as a platform, but he can’t go far wrong by trying to impress the manager in training. Antonio Nocerino may have a similar problem to his fellow countryman. Joining on loan from AC Milan, Nocerino is known for being a holding midfielder and is looking to board the plane to Brazil this summer with Italy. With Mark Noble and Kevin Nolan being everpresent in the side – if Nolan steers clear of more suspensions – then Nocerino still has Mo Diame and Ravel Morrison in his path.
Allardyce always goes with a midfield three, with Nolan and Noble being the regulars. Morrison had a run-out in the team in the opening months, but since he supposedly said he wanted a move to Fulham, Diame has regained his place. Despite Nocerino’s experience and determination to make his country’s World Cup squad, I can only see him making a handful of appearances at the Boleyn Ground.
The first signing of the window was Roger Johnson. The Wolverhampton Wanderers centre half was brought in because of the Irons’ bad luck with injuries at the heart of defence, but he failed to do anything to stop a Manchester City drubbing on his debut. Johnson was just a panic signing because he could play in the League Cup semi-final and he had Premier League experience, but the fact that he has been relegated in each of his last three seasons should have told Big Sam that signing Johnson on loan was a bad move for the club.
Jaanai Gordon and Abdul Razak were the only permanent additions to the squad. Gordon looks like one for the future, whereas Razak has been signed to a shortterm deal. Razak has been involved in the Premier League before with Manchester City, but he failed to impress. He was recently with Anzhi in Russia but his contract was terminated there. It would be surprising if he made many appearances before the end of the season.