After witnessing Simone Zaza’s infamous – and frankly spectacular – penalty miss at Euro 2016, clubs would have been forgiven for halting any interest in the striker, such was the shambolic nature of the Italian’s stuttering run-up and blazed effort in a game of such magnitude.
No strangers to making bold – and often bizarre – deals in the transfer market, though, West Ham United were unperturbed by that spot-kick horror show, eventually signing the player from Juventus on a season-long loan deal later that summer.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing in football, with GSB likely wishing they had heeded the warning signs, as the journeyman forward went on to distinctly underwhelm in a Hammers shirt.
One of many notable names to have failed to make the grade for the east London outfit over the last decade or so, Zaza’s time in English football is only noteworthy for just how brief it was and how little impact he made.
Having been signed for a reported £5m loan fee by then-Irons manager Slaven Bilic, the Policoro native went on to feature just 11 times for the club in all competitions, spending a mere 571 minutes on the pitch and failing to register a single goal.
In the end, all that came of his Premier League stint was two yellow cards, with those bookings costing the club £2.5m apiece in relation to his loan fee.
Should Zaza have been given more time at West Ham?
Not for me!
Such was the dire nature of Zaza’s time in east London, Bilic and co eventually severed ties with the player just a matter of months into his loan spell in order to avoid having to pay an appearance-related £20m purchase option, as the striker secured a January move to La Liga side Valencia.
Upon his departure, the Italian’s father insisted that it had been a “huge mistake” to make the move to the London Stadium, with the club and their supporters seemingly thinking the same.
Since then, the 30-year-old has somewhat faded from view, eventually making his return to Italy after an 18-month stint in Spain, with the 18-cap international now plying his trade for Serie A outfit Torino.
He has scored just 20 goals in 102 games across all competitions for his current club, notably failing to find the net in ten league appearances so far this term, all of which have come as a substitute.
Such has been Zaza’s decline since his stint in the Premier League, he is now valued at just £1.8m by Transfermarkt, despite having reached a peak of £22.8m back in January 2018 after a brief purple patch at the Mestalla.
As for West Ham, the only saving grace is that they hadn’t agreed to a permanent deal in the first place, with Simone Zaza now just another name on their list of failed centre-forward additions.