When Alberto Paloschi signed for Swansea City in January, I was extremely excited about the prospect of a new striker coming to ply his trade at the Liberty Stadium.
With the inconsistency and unreliability of Bafetimbi Gomis upfront for the first four months of the season, it was evident that the Swans needed some more fire-power in the striker department – boasting an unnerving statistic of being the second-lowest scoring team in the Premier League.
In January; the Swans were fully amongst the relegation candidates, and when Francesco Guidolin brought in fellow Italian Paloschi from Chievo Verona for £8 million, there was a new found optimism that we’d just done a piece of business that could majorly help us out of the relegation slog.
As an AC Milan youth academy player, and a proven Serie A goal-scorer, Paloschi had and does have the making of a top striker for Swansea. And from the glimpses of what we’ve seen of him so far, he could turn into a quality forward with a bit more time.
The 26-year-old needs to adapt to Premier League football first, though. It’s a whole lot more physical than Serie A. In his first month of English football, he’s come up against the likes of Scott Dann, Toby Alderweireld, Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk who are all big, tough and extremely resolute top-flight defenders. He, unsurprisingly, didn’t get any leeway against them at all.
Paloschi will need to strengthen up if he’s to succeed in the league, with big centre-backs pushing you around all game, as has been the case in his opening six games. Though, his hold-up play was excellent during the Swans’ recent 3-2 loss to Bournemouth – which does show gradual progression. With every game that goes by, the Italian is improving and gelling into the Premier League style. Other than actual footballing ability, Paloschi displays fantastic enthusiasm and his work rate is head and shoulders better than Gomis’.
The question is, can we afford to wait for our main source of goals to adapt? In the position we’re in, perhaps not. But thankfully we have got a slender advantage in the relegation battle, being eight points ahead of Sunderland and Norwich. It’s not an ideal situation to be in with just eight games left in the campaign, however, providing we survive, I’m more than confident Paloschi will be banging in the goals for the Swans next season.
It took Wilfried Bony the best part of three months to start netting when he signed in the summer of 2013, and look how he turned out. The Ivorian bagged 25 goals in 56 games, earning the club a further £28 million from his sale to Manchester City in the process. In a similar situation, it took Gomis six months to start consistently scoring, when he went on his sensational run of goals at the tail end of last season.
If Paloschi can adjust to the pace of the Premier League and get on the same wavelength as our main provider, Gylfi Sigurdsson, he can be a force to be reckoned with. He showed great instinct when he scored his only goal for the Swans against Tottenham in February, capitalizing on a wicked deflection and rifling the ball home before anybody else could even react. The initial signs are positive, and I’d bet my house on Paloschi going onto become a success for Swansea.