Chelsea have had a hard time buying in Italy...

4 Serie A strikers who infamously flopped in the Premier League – and 3 who succeeded

Strikers heading to the Premier League straight from Serie A have endured mixed fortunes in the English game, but that hasn’t stopped English clubs from taking a punt on them.

Joshua Zirkzee looks set to become the next striker to swap Serie A for Super Sundays, with David Ornstein confirming his move to Manchester United from Bologna is imminent. He’ll provide competition for Rasmus Hojlund, who himself left Serie A to join United only last summer.

Many a forward have made the move before United’s impending young duo, though, to varying levels of success. We’ve taken a look at four strikers who flopped in the Premier League after signing from a Serie A side – and another three who shone.

Gianluca Scamacca – Flop

When West Ham announced a deal to sign Scamacca from Sassuolo in the summer of 2022, Twitter tacticians and Serie A enthusiasts were delighted at the idea of the big, tattooed Italian heading to the Premier League.

As is often the case with strikers signing for West Ham, though, it didn’t work out. At all.

Despite looking like one of the most underrated strikers in Europe in Serie A, Scamacca looked like a fish out of water under David Moyes and seemingly never impressed the Scot, returning to Italy after one season which saw him make just 11 Premier League starts.

He’s since signed for Atalanta permanently and enjoyed a strong return to Serie A, finishing his first season back with 19 goals in all competitions and a Europa League winners medal.

Gianluca Vialli – Top

From one Gianluca in London to another, the late, great Vialli decided to finish his career in England with Chelsea after spending all of it until that point in Italy.

He joined Chelsea on a free transfer from Juventus in the summer of 1996 and quickly settled into life in London, bagging 11 goals in all competitions in his first season, including a brace against Liverpool in the FA Cup – which Chelsea went onto win that year.

Before long, Vialli found himself in charge on a player-manager basis after Ruud Gullit’s sacking, prompting his retirement in 1998 to take the job full-time.

Vialli won the FA Cup again as manager, as well as the League Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup. Legend.

Chelsea have enjoyed some legendary Italians over the years.

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every Italian player to appear for Chelsea in the Premier League?

Stevan Jovetic – Flop

Manchester City spent just over £20million to sign Jovetic from Fiorentina in 2013, off the back of a seriously impressive and prolific spell in Italy despite his young age.

Just 23 at the time, injuries unfortunately hampered Jovetic massively during his time in Manchester and we never really got to see the best of him for any sustained period of time.

That, combined with inconsistency and a questionable relationship with Manuel Pellegrini meant the writing was on the wall early on.

Naturally, with City having an infinite pot of cash, they went and signed his replacement in the form of Wilfried Bony in January 2015 – who took Jovetic’s spot in their Champions League squad – and the Montenegro forward left that summer, returning to Italy with Inter having appeared 44 times, scoring 11 goals.

Thierry Henry – Top

For those who might’ve forgotten or not realised at all, Arsenal capitalised on Thierry Henry being unsettled in Turin to snap him up from Juventus for £11million in 1999, with manager Arsene Wenger reuniting with the forward from their time together at Monaco.

A two-time Ballon d’Or runner-up, three-time FWA Footballer of the Year, and two-time Premier League winner who remains Arsenal’s record scorer with 228 goals, it might be the best use of £11million ever.

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TRY A QUIZ: Can you name every British and Irish player to play in Serie A since 1990?

Andriy Shevchenko – Flop

Chelsea have seen the best and worst of strikers over the years, with a few of the best and worst coming from Serie A. Nothing blew up in their face quite like the deal to bring Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge, though.

An absolute gunman for Milan having won a Scudetto and Champions League with the Rossoneri, he finished up in Italy as the club’s second-top scorer of all time, before signing for Chelsea in 2006 for a then-British record fee of around £30million. A satisfactory but disrupted first season was followed by a disastrous second season where Jose Mourinho was sacked.

By the summer of 2008, the Ukranian was back at Milan on loan having only scored 22 times in 77 appearances. A largely unsuccessful – and expensive – transfer.

Dennis Bergkamp – Top

It’s no surprise Arsenal were so willing to take a punt on Henry when they’d signed Bergkamp from Inter back in 1995, joining for a fee of around £7.5million.

A slow start very quickly turned around for the Dutchman, who finished with 11 goals in his first season as a Gunner and only blossomed from that point.

Perhaps one of the game’s greatest players to watch in full stride, the forward was a creative genius and way ahead of his time, later forming a tremendous partnership with Henry upon his arrival.

Collecting individual and team honours for fun – a three-time Premier League winner, two-time Goal of the Season winner, we could go on – Bergkamp was extraordinary in full stride and remains one of Arsenal’s greatest-ever buys.

Mario Balotelli – Flop

To give poor Chelsea a break, we’ve opted for Balotelli as our fourth flop.

The jury is out on whether or not his spell at City can be classed as a failure, given that he played an important role after signing from Inter as they won the Premier League in 2011-12, scoring 13 goals and being the most entertaining man on the planet along the way.

It eventually blew up in his face with City growing tired of his antics and shipping him off to Milan, but he returned to the Premier League with Liverpool in 2014.

His City spell might split opinion, but his spell in Merseyside does not. Balotelli was a massive failure after signing for £16million, failing to replace Luis Suarez and finishing the 2014-15 campaign with just four goals in all competitions.

He was back in Milan only one summer after leaving.