Is future bright for Savio?

RECENT stories that West Ham are looking to secure the services of Inter Milan s Brazilian wingman Mancini can hardly have done much for the confidence of Hammers youngster Savio, writes DAVE EVANS. The 19-year-old Ugandan-born German under-20 internation

RECENT stories that West Ham are looking to secure the services of Inter Milan's Brazilian wingman Mancini can hardly have done much for the confidence of Hammers youngster Savio, writes DAVE EVANS.

The 19-year-old Ugandan-born German under-20 international arrived in a blaze of glory in January with a mammoth transfer fee around his neck.

That fee quickly became a millstone for the young winger, as he failed to impress and then fell down the pecking order behind West Ham Academy boy Junior Stanislas towards the end of the season.

With manager Gianfranco Zola looking at using a 4-3-3 formation next season, the left-wing job will be an integral part of that, and despite the emergence of Stanislas and the chase for Mancini, the boss still feels that Savio can come good.


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"He is a boy who came from a totally different league with a lower standard so had a few problems at the beginning trying to establish himself," explained Zola.

"He was used to playing at a very low rhythm, so he had time on the ball and would get two or three seconds before someone was going to challenge."

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What is puzzling, is why Zola would risk a fee in the region of �5.5million, which could become a club record �9million if he meets all the clauses of the deal, for an inexperienced and lightweight youngster.

The influence of technical director Gianluca Nani is paramount of course. It was Nani who plucked Savio from Germany to Serie B outfit Brescia at the age of just 16, and it was he who brought the winger to Zola's attention.

Zola though still believes he can come good: "He is catching up," he insisted. "He is only 19 and he is a player that I believe is going to give satisfaction to the supporters.

"We need to be patient with him because he needs to adapt. He has got quality and believe me, he is going to be an important player."

That remains to be seen, but with Mancini being targetted and Stanislas looking good, whether he gets that chance is a matter for debate.

Maybe, like Freddie Sears, a loan spell is what could turn Savio from a boy, into a man.

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