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Why haven’t Everton signed more players from Italy?

Everton spent big on Moise Kean last summer. The forward arrived from Juventus on a five-year deal that could be worth up to €30 million to the Toffees if all add-ons are met.

Amazingly, Kean is the first player Everton have signed from a Serie A side since the 2005 acquisition of Andy van der Meyde from Inter Milan. The Dutch winger is hardly a club legend so is that the reason why the club hasn’t done more shopping in Italy?

There are 53 different nationalities of players represented in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season. Players come from all over the world to play their football in England but there are some footballing nations that float to the top. It’s no surprise to see that there are plenty of players from France, Germany, and Spain. Along with England, they make up four of the top five leagues in Europe but there aren’t too many others from the fifth nation on the list: Italy.

Historically, English teams have been a little hesitant to sign Italian players. Very few would be considered successful signings, especially towards the top of the league. In fact, only one Italian player has ever been awarded Premier League winners’ medal and that was Mario Balotelli back in 2011/12. More players from Bosnia & Herzegovina have won the title, a nation that only declared independence a few months before the Premier League kicked off.

There have been some success stories. Chelsea have had considerable success with players from Serie A including the likes of Gianfranco Zola, Roberto Di Matteo, and Carlo Cudicini. Arsenal signed Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Patrick Vieira from Serie A – although none of them are Italian. The truth is that too many players from Italy struggled in England, particularly in the early days of the Premier League when the game was more physical.

Like many clubs, Everton just chose to ignore Serie A when it came to signing players. Instead, they’ve targeted other leagues closer to home such as the Championship. Moise Kean is an exception and has shown flashes of quality in his debut season in England but you’d be hard pushed to call him a successful signing. He’s the first player to join the Toffees from Serie A since Andy van der Meyde signed from Inter Milan in 2005. The Dutch winger made just 20 appearances over four years and seemed to put Everton off signing players from Serie A for 15 years.

But he wasn’t the first from Serie A. Matteo Ferrari spent a season on loan from AS Roma in the mid-2000s with limited success. Everton also signed Marco Materazzi from Perugia in 1998. He played regularly but was sent off three times during his single season in England. He rejoined the Italian club and later starred for the national team as they won the 2006 FIFA World Cup. The only other Italian player to spend time at Goodison is Alessandro Pistone who spent seven years at Everton after signing from Newcastle United in 2000.

There are numerous reasons why this is. The classic definition is that English clubs and managers just play a different style of football that players from Serie A aren’t accustomed to. It sounds like a lazy generalisation but it’s something that the players themselves actually agree with.

“The difference is tactical,” claimed West Ham United’s Angelo Ogbonna when asked by Betway about the differences between English and Italian football. He joined the Hammers from Juventus back in 2015 and has become a standout player for them at the back.

“In England, you play with much more intensity. In recent years, football has totally changed. It has become more tactical but this is compensated by speed.”

This is echoed by players from Serie A at the other end of the pitch.

“The game here is more fast paced,” Hammers forward Felipe Anderson agreed in the interview with Betway.

“The ball never stops. When you lose it you have to switch, to quickly cover the other team which wants to attack, it always wants to score.”

But things are starting to change. Anderson, in particular, is a good example of a player who has come from Serie A and adapted to the Premier League’s intensity and tactical setup. He has been a star for West Ham in the last couple of years but it wasn’t easy for him to cope with the change.

“I do think the intensity of the game is the biggest difference.

“It took me roughly ten games to build the stamina. This has been quite difficult for me but then it became more natural.”Perhaps things are starting to change, according to The Guardian. We went 20 years without an Italian Premier League winner but now, we are seeing more players coming in from Italy. Several clubs in the Premier League are starting to take advantage of the untapped potential of Serie A in terms of incoming signings. It can be difficult for them to adapt to the new league – as Felipe Anderson admitted but he has shown that it is possible. For Everton, they will be hoping that Moise Kean can do something similar. If he does then we may start seeing more players arriving from Serie A in the coming years – especially now that Carlo Ancelotti is in charge.

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NSNO Staff

Staff Writer at NSNO.co.uk
NSNO Staff writers maintain the news on the site and ensure the site is updated frequently with the latest Everton news. Starting in 2004, NSNO has always been at the forefront of bringing you the latest Everton news and rumours, building a large forum and growing social media presence, which you can follow by clicking the links to the left.

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