Italian international Ciro Immobile is hoping to fire Torino back up the Serie A standings after a tortuous 18 months spent abroad.
Immobile left Turin in June 2014 to embark upon a new adventure with German Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund, under the tutelage of current Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
He earned such a glamorous move by hitting 22 league goals for the Granata in just 33 appearances – 29 of which were starts.
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Apart from a solitary season on loan at Serie B side Pescara in 2011-12, it was the only other occasion that he’d notched double figures on the scoring charts, thus alerting several big clubs across the continent to his talent.
However, it all turned sour as Dortmund struggled to replicate the abundant success of previous years, whilst Immobile failed to make an impact.
The Azzurri star found the net ten times in all competitions for the 2013 Champions League finalists, but only three of those efforts arrived in the Bundesliga.
Borussia were entrenched in the bottom three come February, but saved face with a late spurt of form that eventually saw them finish in seventh position, and also appear in the German Cup final.
Even so, it had been a hugely disappointing campaign for all concerned, which prompted changes to the playing staff during the summer, and also saw Klopp end his long association with the club.
Immobile found himself surplus to requirements with new coach Thomas Tuchel installed at the helm, thus forcing him to search elsewhere for playing opportunities.
A return to his homeland was widely mooted, but he instead opted for a loan switch to Spanish La Liga outfit Sevilla in a bid to prove his credentials in yet another country.
Alas, his time in Spain arguably descended into an even worse experience than he encountered in Germany, having completed just four starts and a further four substitute appearances in league action – resulting in a mere two goals.
He also failed to make the starting line-up at all during Sevilla’s unsuccessful Champions League Group D campaign.
Therefore, he understandably leapt at the chance to resume his love affair with former club Torino, who mercifully offered him a way out of his foreign nightmare.
Around 200-300 people attended Caselle Airport to greet their returning hero when he arrived in Turin from Seville ahead of routine medical tests, which shows the high regard in which he is still held by Toro devotees.
His examinations then took place at the Centro di Medicina dello Sport in the city, before he travelled to the Sisport complex to witness his team-mates in training under the watchful eye of father-like figure Giampiero Ventura.
His move back is based upon an initial six-month loan, with an option to buy for a reported £8.2 million [€11m] this summer, but Immobile has a very long road to negotiate in order to prove his worthiness for such a permanent deal.
His reputation undoubtedly declined throughout the miserable year-and-a-half away from the Stadio Olimpico di Torino, which makes it even more crucial that he hits the ground running on his return.
Questions will almost certainly be raised as to whether Immobile was a one-season wonder at the highest level. Is his reappearance simply offering fans nothing more than false hope?
Ventura’s men had barely managed more than a goal-per-game by the halfway point of a new term that promised much when winning four out of their opening six league contests, but has collapsed spectacularly since.
There is also growing unrest amongst disgruntled supporters, which spilled over recently when fellow out-of-form striker Fabio Quagliarella bizarrely apologised to Napoli fans for the goal he scored against his hometown team for the Granata – his first strike in 13 outings.
He was consistently booed and whistled as he was forced to watch on from the bench during a subsequent home defeat to Empoli, which exhibited the widening gulf between frustrated fans and the team. They’re badly in need of a hero – and who better than the 25-year-old Immobile to fulfil that role?
But, if it all goes wrong again in similar fashion to his wasted stints in Dortmund and Seville, he could find himself dumped on the scrapheap just two short years after being crowned Serie A’s leading goalscorer.
However, in his very first start for the club on his return, he scored after just nine minutes of the contest in a 4-2 win over Frosinone - the perfect start for him back at his former home.
Can Immobile replicate his immaculate season he had with Torino two seasons ago? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!
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