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Tuesday March 5 2013
Will Diamanti sparkle last?

Does Italian international Alessandro Diamanti have enough time on his side to play for a top club? David Swan writes.

Is there such a thing in football as a late bloomer blooming too late? Late bloomers – those players who float around mediocrity, or who show early promise of being a top player before a run of poor performances puts everyone off. Then later on in their career, when they are much older, they show the ability that everyone thought they had, or reach a level that not many thought they would hit.

Alessandro Diamanti, who turns 30 in May, is blooming late, at least for the modern game. His influence over Bologna this season far greater than the last – if you like to judge players purely by stats and not by watching their games, then you can take heart from the fact that he has equalled the number of assists from last season and is one goal away from matching his 2011-12 total. He’s playing more key passes, taking more shots, dribbling more often – anything you can possibly imagine, he is probably doing better this season than he was last campaign.

His efforts have now been rewarded with regular Italy call-ups – there was a two-year gap between his first and second caps. He has benefitted from the lack of players that can play as trequartista in Cesare Prandelli’s 4-3-1-2 – the Coach sees only him and Riccardo Montolivo as options for the role – but has had a reasonable effect in games in which he has appeared, mostly as a substitute.

With his place in the Italy squad seemingly secure, at least until Prandelli finds someone else who can play as trequartista, the only step left for him is taking his talents to a better team.

This brings us to the concept of blooming too late. By the time this summer comes round he will be 30 – not so old that his career is about to end, as you would imagine he has at least three years left in him at club level of performing to his current standard. But for Diamanti it is a problem, because he will not be a 30-year-old with bags of top-level experience, or an impressive pedigree.

Bologna is arguably the biggest club he has played for, and the biggest game he has played in was probably the Euro 2012 semi-final against Germany last year. He is not going to influence a dressing room with wisdom, or have a great deal of know-how on the pitch when things go wrong or get tough. Without that added extra that some over 30s can bring, and with any investment hardly representing a purchase for the future, it means the potential suitors at the top of the table are basing a decision to acquire him on whether his current ability as a player can improve their situation right now, and whether it is worth what would essentially be a short-term fix.

At the moment Diamanti is a relatively big fish in a small Bologna pond, orchestrating matters in attack. There is no guarantee that if you put him in a bigger pond with larger fish that he is going to have the same influence. He offers something a little different for Italy when he comes on as a substitute, though this is perhaps because there is a hint of unorthodoxy about him on an international scene where a lot of the top teams are trying to achieve the same style with similar players, rather than because he has the quality to succeed at that level.

He will probably have to accept a role like this if he is to move, with a few starts here and there, unless Napoli or Lazio can find some space for him in their line-ups. If they can’t, then the boat heading further up the League will set sail without him aboard.

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Have your say...
Phenomenal player. Deseves a place on the Azzurri in Brazil for the next WC.
on the 6th March, 2013 at 8:38am
He's already played for a great club in West Ham, anything else is a step down. He had a top season at Upton Park, shame we got rid of him, but his spell there was something of a springboard to better things in Italy.
on the 6th March, 2013 at 4:52am
He is good, I think he would do well at Fiorentina or maybe Inter, I can see him playing in Germany tho maybe a dortmund type player to rotate with Gotze Kuba and Reus, I think some people on here are being harsh saying he is poor, Its not a fair comment to say if someone else was better he wouldnt play etc, cuz you can say that about anyone, for example if their is someone better than Buffon or Pirlo play them its not valid and 30 is not old really. Fair play to him tho never giving up.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 4:30pm
Spot on Tommy. Nothing more to add.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 4:26pm
Big fan, like this playing style and passion, should have played in the final of Euro 2012, Like Grosso in 2006 (getting our penalty against Australia, goal against Germany and of course scoring THE PENALTY) – Diamanti delivered the corner that gave Balotelli his goal against Ireland, and that wonderful final penalty against England, Diamanti was our talisman for the tournament, as Grosso was in 2006.

Still annoys me that Di Natale came on against Spain, he missed a golden chance to make it 2 1 at the start of the 2nd half, and missed a few chances against Germany in the semi to kill off the game, as instead we were biting our nails for the final whistle in the semi final.

Yes Diamanti came on for the Germany game, was little eager, but I just think in the final, he would have given Italy that spark,
on the 5th March, 2013 at 4:09pm
I am a big fan of diamanti personally, but i think he needs to stay at bologna. prandelli has already noticed him, and i think that is enough. he fits there. like di natale, there is no need for him to jump to a big squad
on the 5th March, 2013 at 3:05pm
Nope
on the 5th March, 2013 at 2:32pm
for me diamanti needs some luck he be good in a top ten team and as for italy he always plays well but it is a shame about his age
on the 5th March, 2013 at 1:59pm
i think he should remain where he is right now like dinatali and miccoli did with their teams ,, those players do better with no pressure around them ,, milano and torino doesn't seem a good idea especially at this age
on the 5th March, 2013 at 1:35pm
Excellent striker of a ball? You obviously haven't seen many of the corners he's taken this season........
Diamanti is a poor player being given a chance with the Azzurri due to a lack of attacking midfielder options. He's one of the poorest players to ever pull on an Italian jersey and thankfully with the youth now starting to come through in that area of the pitch, his appearances will be further limited.
He would definitely fail at any top 7 club.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 1:12pm
Extremely underrated. Playing for provincial clubs hurts his chances of greater recognition but there are is more to him than just his winning penalty at Euro 2012 against the English.

Diamanti can bend shots like the great fantasisti of the 90s and has great vision too. I reckon he needs a bit more luck when trying those shots for the Azzurri. His shots hit the woodwork too often.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 1:10pm
Actually, he was very influential last season as well, which is why he was called up to a major tournament- I think the only other Bologna striker in the last 40-ish years who's had that honour is Roby Baggio. The difference is that now he's playing alongside an elite striker like Alberto Gilardino.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 1:05pm
I like him. An absolute livewire on the field. Excellent striker of the ball. Plays with purpose and is always looking to create. I see no problem with late-bloomers. I can make a whole list of whom who ended up as world beaters.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 12:35pm
I doubt the Diamanti has got what it takes to be more than a slightly big fish in a small pond. He seems distinctively average with the exception of a good free kick every now and then.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 12:17pm
Quality player. I've always liked him mainly because he plays in a Baggio type of role and is good at FKs...oh and he plays for Bologna too.
on the 5th March, 2013 at 11:50am

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