In amongst West Ham’s summer spending spree — which hasn’t been massively successful, given the team’s poor start — there’s one name that is utterly intriguing to me out of the nine summer signings.
It’s not Paqueta, or Kehrer, or Cornet — but Emerson Palmieri, who as we will see, we have already seen a fair amount of. We signed him from Chelsea for £13m, plus a couple of million for add-ons, and I think it’s fair to say that the reaction from West Ham fans was one of enthusiasm. But perhaps of slight surprise — we’d been linked with many players but, unless I missed something obvious, the rumour mill surrounding Emerson wasn’t exactly in overdrive.
However, David Moyes was certainly happy about his capture: ‘He is an experienced player with a good pedigree, who has enjoyed great success at both club and international level in recent years.
‘He will give us strong competition in defensive areas and brings a winning mentality that we are looking to build here at West Ham.’
So, let’s find out a little more, and see how he’s settling in at West Ham.
Chelsea fans had mixed reactions on his departure, some of whom thought that his lack of game time for them meant that he was ‘rubbish’ and ‘deadwood’, with others suggesting that there is a decent player there, and Chelsea just haven’t been the right club for him.
The overall consensus seems to be that he’s a solid player, with an eye for going forward, and indeed he has already scored his first goal for West Ham in Europe this season against FCSB. We probably need to see more of it, to be fair — as Moyes continues to look for a settled system, it’s fair to say that a lot of players look unsure and are not in their best form.
But we have seen him before. Remember our fantastic Europa League run last season, particularly the memorable quarter final against Lyon which we won 4-1 on aggregate? He played against us when we dismantled them over the two legs, which presumably is when he caught the eye of David Moyes, even in Lyon’s defeat.
Oh, and look who featured in the Italy line-up in the Euro 2020 final v England? There’s that man again. Although the Sky TV team weren’t bowled over with his performance, saying that he ‘impressed since coming in for the injured Spinazzola, but struggled to deal with Trippier’s runs, one of which resulted in the opener. Poor touch in the final third on the couple of occasions he did get in behind.’ Ho-hum.
Whilst his form is a bit iffy, his medal haul is impressive: as well as winning the European Championships with Italy, he’s also got a Champions League, Europa League and UEFA Super Cup winners medal all with Chelsea.
Oh, and he won the FA Cup with them too. In fact, thinking about it, he’s won more medals in the last four years than our entire team has in over forty years – and no, Championship play-off and Intertoto Cup winners medals don’t count.
There’s more good news in the next fab fact: Emerson came through the ranks at Santos in Brazil, making his senior debut for them in 2011. Who else came through the junior ranks at the same club? None other than Pele. Which means, in my convoluted logic, that Santos is the breeding ground for world-class players, and he’s therefore going to become as good as Pele. Maybe.
Although it’s not quite true that he never represented Brazil at international level, as he did play for their under-17s, he was able to switch allegiance because he never turned out for the senior Brazilian team, and had Italian roots on his mother’s side.
After moving to Italian football in 2014, three years later, after being close to acquiring Italian citizenship, he was apparently pursued by Italy head coach Gian Piero Ventura with the intention of switching his international allegiance to Italy, which he duly did.
Given the trophies that he’s won, the clubs he’s played for, and his longevity in the national side, we clearly have yet to see the best of Emerson. When it all comes good, you get the feeling he’ll very much be part of things. The best is yet to come.