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West Ham secure Italian international

Jan 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

Italian's Antonio Nocerino controls the ball during his international friendly soccer match against Caen at the Michel d’Ornano stadium in Caen, western France, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/David Vincent) AP

West Ham have secured the services of Antonio Nocerino for the remainder of the season, with the midfielder joining on loan from AC Milan. Will he be able to help the ailing side?

West Ham United are not having the best of seasons. Currently in the relegation zone, the Irons have but one win from their last nine games. Injuries have taken a toll on the club, leaving the side without a true center forward for much of the season and, as might be expected, accounting for more than a few scoreless matches.

More alarmingly for a side managed by Sam Allardyce, however, West Ham have seen a few episodes of shocking defending, often allowing three or more goals in a match. They were knocked out of the FA Cup in the last round when Championship side Nottingham Forest beat them 5-0. Most recently, West Ham crashed out of the League Cup with a 9-0 aggregate defeat to Manchester City.

Unsurprisingly, this leaves the club scouring the transfer market, looking for players that might be persuaded to join West Ham. Now they’ve got Nocerino, but can the midfielder make much of a difference?

A quality defensive midfielder would surely help the Irons by providing steel to protect the shaky backline. However, Nocerino might not be the man for the job. A defensive midfielder, yes, but one that is often reluctant to dive into tackles or show much grit – often a weakness in English football. Despite playing for Milan, a side with one of the most frail defenses in Serie A, Nocerino could barely get a start.

Yet at this point, almost any addition can be seen as an improvement for West Ham. And with Nocerino likely still hoping to be included in Italy’s World Cup squad, perhaps he’ll dial up his performances under Allardyce, hoping to impress enough to make the trip to Brazil.

For those still worried about the Irons’ attacking options, it may come as a bit of a relief to know that it appears striker Marco Borriello is next to sign on. Perhaps less of a relief for those who have seen the Italian international play, however.

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