Gianfranco Zola insists he has not taken a gamble on West Ham's latest signing Savio Nsereko, but has urged the Upton Park fans to be patient with the 19-year-old forward.
The exact figure is undisclosed but reports suggest the final fee for Nsereko, who has been signed from Italian Serie B side Brescia on a four-and-a-half year contract, could rise as high as £9m. It is a sizeable investment for a player who is a Germany Under-20 international but will be unknown to most supporters in the Premier League. Zola, however, was adamant.
"I don't think Savio is a gamble for me," he said. "I know what he can do. I have to add something to his game but I'm sure he's not a gamble."
He continued: "With the qualities he has got we will find a place to put him in.
"We have expectations of him but he is 19 years old. He has come here for the future. He has great potential and can become a top player. But the crowd and everybody need to be patient with him.
"We are going to help him to improve but he needs some time to settle down."
Nsereko, who was born in Uganda but moved to Germany when he was two, could make his debut against Hull on Wednesday night if international clearance is received in time.
He is a left-sided winger whose main talent is running with the ball and the fact that West Ham have given him the number 10 shirt suggests they have faith in his ability.
Nsereko, who admitted playing for Zola was one of the big attractions in coming to London, said: "It is a big responsibility, but I know what I can do.
"I'm happy to be here and proud to have the possibility to play for West Ham. I know a lot about the manager. I saw him play and he was a great player and a great manager also."
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