By Peter McVitie
Sitting atop the Serie A goalscoring charts ahead of big names like Gonzalo Higuain, Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Mario Balotelli, Torino striker Ciro Immobile must be amazed at just how remarkable his season has been.
As he looks at the famous players which trail him on the list and the quality of the supporting cast that surrounds each of them at their respective clubs, the co-owned Juventus star will wonder how on earth, with a modest club like Torino, he remains ahead of them.
It’s no surprise, then, that not only is national team coach Cesare Prandelli considering him for a place in his World Cup squad, but also German giants Borussia Dortmund are said to be lining up a bid for the 24-year-old.
A summer departure seems imminent as the player has outgrown his current club and it seems neither he nor co-owners Juventus are too interested in a permanent reunion, with his agent, Marco Sommella, telling Suddeutsche Zeitung: "Ciro wants to play for a big club like Borussia Dortmund."
Despite Immobile insisting to the press that he wasn’t interested in joining Jurgen Klopp’s team because "German is too hard to learn", it seems increasingly likely the Italy international will be sporting the black and yellow of the Bundesliga side next season.
|HOW THEY COMPARE: SERIE A TOP SCORERS
|Conversion rate (%)
And the evidence suggests the North Rhine-Westphalia club would benefit hugely from the signing of the frontman as they look to replace outgoing central striker Robert Lewandowski, who will join Bayern Munich in the summer.
The player would not only suit BVB’s playing style very well, but as one with a bright future who won’t cost a great deal to bring in, he fits their transfer strategy perfectly too.
With his speed and awareness, Immobile would link up with Dortmund incumbents Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus. Also, the way he has developed a deadly partnership with Alessio Cerci suggests that he and Die Schwarzgelben’s incoming signing from Hertha Berlin, Adrian Ramos, would be able to complement each other very well if played together. They are both very quick and, where Immobile is lacking in aerial ability, Ramos finds the net with his head more regularly than he does with either foot.
As well as his excellent movement off the ball and great ability to play off the shoulder of the last defender, he is dangerous running at centre-backs from deeper positions. That, combined with his good control, has turned him into a very dangerous and versatile attacker. He also has impressive speed and turn of pace as well as an exquisite finishing ability which has made him central to Torino’s excellent campaign.
With his 20 goals, he has scored 38 per cent of his team’s total, guiding il Toro to eighth place in Serie A and his shot conversion rate of 26% is not only very impressive, it’s an incredible improvement on the 12% rate he maintained last term with Genoa. It all shows that he has blossomed into a much more clinical striker.
Also, he is a consistent goalscorer, his record isn’t deceptive by a tendency to score in blotches or fire in a lot of goals against the smaller teams while ultimately disappearing against the bigger ones. The former Pescara No.9 has only netted one hat-trick and one brace in the league this season and has proven his worth against the likes of Roma, Lazio, AC Milan, Inter and Parma.
It could prove to be a big mistake from Juve not to do their utmost to bring him back across the city over the summer as he would be a huge boost to Antonio Conte’s attacking options.
Of course, Tevez (30) and Llorente (29) are excellent strikers who have been immense for Juve since joining and will continue to be. But to pass up on Immobile who is still developing and will continue to get better as a striker would be a big loss. At 24, he will be approaching his physical peak as those strikers begin to wane.
Furthermore, as Conte looks to improve his team’s record in the Champions League, a player like Immobile would add more depth to the team and help juggle European and domestic competitions.
However, it looks the Bianconeri’s myopia will play into Dortmund’s hands as they sit in pole-position to sign the outstanding Torino frontman.Follow Peter McVitie on