Can Lamps light up Italian football?

Inter fans are in no doubt that Frank Lampard will sign for the club but he isn’t going to have much time to win over such ever-demanding followers.In the die-hard Nerazzurri cafes in Milan they are not exactly raising their coffee cups to toast the arrival of the Chelsea man.The armchair coaches would have preferred to have seen Deco in the black and blue if Jose Mourinho was going to buy a thirty-something midfielder.

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However, it’s in Jose we trust and the Portuguese can do no wrong at the moment although a ball has yet to be kicked in anger.Maybe it’s the oppressive heat hanging over the city that’s causing such lethargy but, in general, shrugs greet the imminent arrival of the England international.It’s not as if anyone here really follows the English Premier League that closely, or that apart from Didier Drogba and John Terry, most run-of-the-mills fans would be hard-pushed to name another Chelsea player.There is no doubt that Lampard is a good player but then Serie A is full of good players – and then there are superstars: those considered fuoriclassi who even the most money-grabbing club owners would be loath to lose.Inter already have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Materazzi (only kidding) and one in the making in Marco Balotelli, then there is Ricky Kaka and Andrea Pirlo at AC Milan, AS Roma’s Francesco Totti and Juventus veteran Alessandro Del Piero. Their star quality go hand-in-hand with an ability and all-round game to take control of a match and determine its outcome.Inter fans adored the last English man to wear the club shirt: Paul Ince. However, he was a crowd favourite for all the things they expected from an English footballer: non-stop running, a never-say-die spirit for the cause, crunching tackles and the ability to shout and wave his fist at the same time.

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Lampard won’t be expected to run himself into the ground or raise his voice – Esteban Cambiasso and captain Javier Zanetti already do that. His more advanced position in the pitch requires skill, guile, speed off the mark, an eye for the unexpected, coupled with a ruthlessness to strike fear into even the most demonic of man-markers whose lair is just in front of the defence.These are the qualities possessed by the likes of Kaka or Antonio Cassano and for Inter fans this is what they will expect from Lamps but has he got what it takes to light up Italian football?

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