When Ciro Immobile joined Borussia Dortmund in 2015, he arrived as the club’s replacement for Robert Lewandowski.
The Polish striker had scored 74 goals in 131 Bundesliga outings for Dortmund and many expected Immobile to be the perfect candidate to fill the void his departure created. After all, the forwards shared many similar attributes such as link up play and fantastic finishing.
Unfortunately for the Italian, he was not. He managed to find the back of the net just three times in 24 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund. Many fans presumed this was the end of Immobile as a top level footballer. However, this season, the two top scoring strikers in Europe’s top five leagues are Immobile and the man he replaced Robert Lewandowski.
Whilst Lewandowski has been rightly regarded as one of Europe’s best strikers for a while now, Immobile’s name rarely enters the conversation of the continent’s best forwards. Why is this?
A season to savour for Immobile
This season for Lazio, Immobile managed 27 Serie A goals before football was suspended. This works out as a goal every 81 minutes of football he played. He has been taking 3.9 shots per 90 minutes in the league. On top of Immobile’s remarkable goalscoring record this season, he has managed seven assists for his teammates. With 1.8 key passes per 90, there is certainly an argument to be made for Immobile being Europe’s most complete striker.
Despite what his surname says, Immobile is a striker known for his incredible movement. He stands at 6 foot 1 and is effective in the air. He is an excellent finisher with both feet but is more than just a cold-blooded goal scorer. On the pitch, Immobile is an extremely hard working striker who presses defenders, making him a difficult forward to face for even the elite opponents.
But rather than being fought after by the biggest clubs in the world when the market does eventually re-open, Immobile finds himself linked with Everton, according to 90 Min.
Immobile could be a gamble
Immobile has been a roaring success at two of his last four permanent clubs and a disaster at the other two. The disasters were Dortmund and Sevilla. Immobile’s miserable goalscoring record at Dortmund has already been well documented but his time at Sevilla was even more curious. He joined on loan from Dortmund with an €11m option to buy. However, the Italian never played a game for Sevilla as a permanent squad member. Instead, he was loaned to his former club Torino where he managed a respectable five goals in 14 games. It was at Torino where a young Immobile first made his name as the top scorer in the 2013-14 Serie A season managing 22 goals in 33 outings.
Despite a successful spell with Torino, Lazio’s purchase of the Italian forward was a risk. They spent a relatively modest €9.5 million euros on Immobile. In his debut season in Rome, he beat his goal total with Torino, scoring 23 Serie A goals. However, he was not the top scorer, with cross-town rival’s Roma’s striker Edin Dzeko managing a remarkable 29 league goals. The former Juventus trainee managed 29 goals in his second season winning the Capocannoniere (top scorer award) jointly with former Inter Milan and now PSG frontman Mauro Icardi.
Putting Ronaldo in the shade
Last season, Immobile only managed 15 goals in the league but in 19/20 he has been right back on form and is a clear contender for the Capocannoniere, crucially ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo; whom many still regard as the best or second best player on earth. In fact, Immobile leads the Portuguese legend on both goals, assists and key passes this season.
So why does the average football fan forget how good Immobile is? The main reason is probably because he doesn’t have a superstar persona. He is not a household name like Ronaldo and therefore his talents often go under the radar.
Immobile has also somewhat struggled in other leagues, perhaps putting off high-profile foreign suitors.
Before play stopped, Immobile was firing Lazio to the brink of their first title since the turn of the millennium. If Immobile’s goals do secure a first Scudetto in 20 years, there is an argument to be made that he is one of the three best strikers in the world and could even be in Ballon D’or contention.
Surely then his next move, should he wish to make one, would be to one of Europe’s giants?
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