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The striker is being lined up by the White Hart Lane club, but he may find it hard to command regular first-team football, with his recent lack of goals also counting against him

By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer

‘Much-travelled’ is a description used for a fair portion of Italian footballers, but Marco Borriello is practically the embodiment of the label. The man targeted by Tottenham Hotspur has worn the jerseys of nine different clubs, but has yet to venture beyond the Italian border in his 11-year top-flight career.

Never having had a great deal of pace to begin with, Borriello has struggled when defenders have forced the emphasis a little, but he has an occasional hammer of a left foot. When the opposition stand off he can be a huge weapon, and he also has a huge physical presence, which has made him the ideal man to lead the line at a number of clubs around the peninsula.

But while the centre-forward has become known as one of the most physically capable centre-forwards in Calcio, he has left differing impressions on the supporters of his various former clubs.

He is not the most deadly of finishers, and has often failed to fit in to the system of a side, his approach often helping to make a team more one-dimensional than their fans would prefer them to be.



Borriello hardly fits Tottenham’s blueprint for signing young, talented players with sell-on value but his potential arrival at White Hart Lane this summer would be a signing of expediency.

The new Premier League season gets in less than a month but Spurs currently have just one senior striker in Jermain Defoe, who is himself available for transfer this summer.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas expects to sign Emmanuel Adebayor as his first-choice striker for next season, with a young up-and-coming player like Leandro Damiao as competition for the lone forward role in his preferred 4-3-3 formation.

Borriello would therefore be expected to fill in as a squad player and would likely be third choice, largely performing a role as a substitute and providing a rotation option in cup games.

He would certainly have to accept a cut on his current £80,000-a-week salary to complete a switch to White Hart Lane but is a realistic target for the Londoners as they desperately try to bolster their frontline.

Having been in Milan’s youth ranks, the Naples product also spent time with Treviso before making his break in the first team while on loan with Triestina. After being given a run by his parent club, he was resigned by Milan, who loaned him out to a string of fellow Serie A sides.

When he was finally given a look-in at first team level with the Rossoneri, he tested positive in a routine anti-doping test following a Serie A match against Roma.

He denied ever knowingly taking cortisone, but that didn’t stop him being handed a three-month ban, and he failed to regain his place in the squad on his return, with Alberto Gilardino, Filippo Inzaghi and Ronaldo being favoured during the run-in to the 2007 Champions League final.

Borriello bounced back superbly though, enjoying his best season to date with Genoa the following year, netting 19 goals in the Grifone’s return to the top division.

His performances were enough to earn him a return to Milan, where he became one of the key men in the forward line under Leonardo, regularly forcing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar onto the bench as he netted 14 times.

However, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic was signed the following summer, it was clear Borriello’s days at San Siro were numbered. He was snapped up by Roma, for whom he netted four Champions League goals in eight appearances but couldn’t replicate the same form in the league as Claudio Ranieri was made to pay for his side’s inconsistency.

Under Luis Enrique in 2011-12 he found even more difficulty, with Pablo Daniel Osvaldo and Bojan Krkic forcing him out of the team.

By the time Juventus signed him on a surprise six-month loan deal in January he still hadn’t scored a goal all season, and it was a run which would continue with then Bianconeri until he finally found the net against Novara in late April.

He would add a crucial late winner at Cesena the following week, but it did little to win over Juventini, who had shown their dissatisfaction with the striker’s signing from very early in the piece.

Though coach Antonio Conte had often favoured Borriello over the likes of Fabio Quagliarella, top scorer Alessandro Matri and club legend Alessandro Del Piero, it was clear that there was no long-term future for him at Juventus Stadium.

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