Giampaolo Pazzini proves an instant hit at Inter Milan
Pazzini's £10m move went largely undetected in UK press despite past interest in his services from England
Inter Milan’s new striker Giampaolo Pazzini has made an instant impact at the San Siro after scoring three goals in his first week in Milan.
The 26-year-old came off the bench to score a match-winning brace for his new employers in a 3-2 victory over Palermo and grabbed another goal in Inter’s 3-0 win over Serie A’s basement side Bari days later.
Pazzini’s reasonably modest £10m transfer went largely undetected in the British media despite past interest in his services from England. And Pazzini himself admitted his surprise at earning a move to one of Italy’s most prestigious clubs.
“To make it to a club like Inter is inevitably fulfilling a career goal, but at the same time it needs to be a starting point as I haven’t won anything yet and I want to demonstrate what I can do,” said Pazzini.
“Am I excited? Of course I am. When there is a change like this one it is hard to believe it is really happening. The offer from Inter was unexpected and out of the blue, and a very important opportunity.”
The Atlanta youth product has shown great promise for a number of seasons since emerging as one of Italy’s brightest prospects – and Inter’s ageing squad was in need of an injection of fresh talent.
Pazzini moved to Fiorentina in January 2005 but struggled to gain a regular starting spot with stiff competition from Luca Toni, Adrian Mutu and Alberto Gilardino during his four-year spell with La Viola.
He moved to Sampdoria in 2009 and it was in Genoa that Pazzini struck up a fruitful partnership with fellow Italy forward Antonio Cassano.
The pair combined to form one of Serie A’s most lethal strike forces and their goals helped Sampdoria achieve qualification to the 2010-2011 Champions League.
Pazzini hit 46 goals in 80 games for Sampdoria and it was last season’s prolific form followed by a solid start to the current campaign which attracted Inter’s interest.
The move breaks a growing trend which has seen Italian football’s Milanese powerhouses look to foreign talent when wanting to boost their attacking line-ups.
Milan currently boast Alexandre Pato, Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic while Diego Milito and Samuel Eto’o’s goals helped Inter seal their treble last season.
Inter boss Leonardo has put faith in Pazzini to become Italy’s next great striker as he attempts to follow in the footsteps of past greats such as Alessando Del Piero, Christian Vieri, Roberto Baggio and Francesco Totti.
They are are difficult legacies to try and emulate but Pazzini possesses the qualities to succeed: he is strong in the air, mobile and most importantly, boasts a clinical finish.