West Ham loan signing changes tune about wanting English stay

Antonio Nocerino has moved on to Torino after his loan spell at West Ham, and says it was his goal to return to Italy.

Back in January, West Ham were labouring in bottom three of the Premier League table after a poor first half of the season.

The Hammers had managed just four wins by match day 22 with injuries decimating the squad and the threat of relegation loomed heavily over the East London outfit.

Sam Allardyce turned to the transfer market for reinforcements and came up with a trio of loan signings from Serie A, a group that included Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino.

Once a mainstay at San Siro, the 29-year-old had been deemed surplus to requirements by new Rossoneri boss Clarence Seedorf, he took up his mantle at Upton Park with an eye on earning a permanent move.

But whilst the Hammers secured Premier League safety in the run-in, the Italian never quite got out of first gear on English shores.

Nocerino made just two starts during his time with the Irons as he struggled to have a major impact, but remained vocal about his desire to have a long term future at West Ham.

Though instead of landing a permanent deal with the Hammers, the Italy international has gone back to his homeland. Milan have now sent him on loan to Torino, the fierce rivals of the club where he spent his youth career, Juventus.

“Torino is my new challenge,” he told Sky Sport Italia of the move. “In England I was fine, but I wanted to return to playing here, in Italy."

Curiously, Nocerino’s words show a departure from his stance during his West Ham days when he said he “would like to stay in England - and stay here”.

Perhaps the 29-year-old came to the conclusion that heading to Serie A would give him the best chance of reviving his stalled international career - competing in a familiar environment.

Some reports had claimed that the Hammers were interested in signing him once again despite a lack of minutes last term. But Nocerino has indicated his thinking evolved as the time to decide his future came and led him towards joining Torino.

Adapting to the Premier League in a short span of time proved difficult and whilst Nocerino was once keen to carve out a place at West Ham, this may well have changed of late.

For him the task at hand is to now re-establish himself after a season spent without regular football. And whether it was ultimately Nocerino or West Ham’s choice that he won’t be at Upton Park next term, Torino will be the club where he’ll have the opportunity to undergo his desired renaissance.

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