Monday, 8 December 2008

City move for di Natale?

A new transfer rumour this evening: a move for Udinese's Italy international striker Antonio di Natale.

The story's from Italian football website (if anyone knows how reliable this website is, please leave it in the comments). The story claims that di Natale's agent, Bruno Carpeggiani, is currently in London talking to people from MCFC. Apparently we're looking for a move in January, to replace Jo. (English translation here). The story has since shown up on Channel 4's Blog Italia and the Setanta website.

The most fun I've had doing this blog was looking up players we were linked with over the summer. I did Diego Milito, Thiago Neves, Jo (here, here and here), Pablo Zabaleta and, er, Michael Chretien. And given what's about to happen, I'll try to do the same for this January's alleged targets.

I don't know an awful lot about di Natale. I saw him play at Euro 2008, and once or twice for Udinese, but not enough to have a serious opinion about him. His record is not one of a very prolific scorer. He has spent most of his senior career at Empoli and then Udinese.

He had five full seasons at Empoli, starting from 1999-2000 (aged 21). In total there he scored 49 in 158 in the league (55 in 178 in all competitions). Those five years in Empoli, though, included only two in Serie A (2002/03 and 2003/04), in which he scored 18 in 60.

In 2004 he moved to Udinese, where he has now completed four and a bit seasons. His league scoring record is 48 in 141 (59 in 163 in all competitions), close to his ratio at Empoli. He has been improving, though. In 2006/07 he scored 11 the league (in 31 games), and last year he scored 17 league goals - finishing joint fourth in the Serie A top scorer charts (joint with Mutu and Ibrahimovic), behind only del Piero (21), Trezeguet (20) and Borriello (19). So far this year di Natale has five in eight.

At international level, he has 25 caps and 9 goals. His biggest moment was taking a penalty in the Italy v Spain quarter finals in Euro 2008. Play the video below from 5:35 to see how he deals with pressure.

So we're looking at someone with experience, and a good but not exceptional goal scoring record. Wikipedia suggests that he's 5'7", and that he is generally played as a second striker, known for his 'pace, creativity and for scoring impressive goals'. Isn't this not really what we're looking for? From a cursory look at a YouTube compilation, he looks quick, technically proficient and with an eye for goal. But then YouTube led me to the same conclusions about Samaras and Castillo.

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