Urby Emanuelson’s deadline day loan move from AC Milan to Fulham was seen as something of a coup for the Club and Italian journalist Federico Farcomeni is backing the midfielder to be a hit at Craven Cottage.
Netherlands international Emanuelson, capped 16 times for his country, joined Milan in January 2011 and helped the Rossoneri to the Serie A title in his first season. He also played as his new side beat rivals Inter Milan to the Supercoppa Italiana in August 2011.
Prior to his move to Italy, he had made 240 appearances for Dutch giants Ajax where he worked with Martin Jol during the 2009/10 campaign.
Thus far, Whites fans have only seen Emanuelson appear from the substitutes’ bench, so Farcomeni - UK correspondent for Italian radio station Maná Maná - gives us the lowdown on the 26-year-old.
What sort of player is Emanuelson? What will he bring to Fulham?
He can play at inside left in midfield or even as a left-back. His versatility could be key in his adjustment to the Barclays Premier League.
Where do you see his best position?
I can’t see him in any other place than midfield, but at Ajax he showed he could play well also as a left-back so Martin Jol could try him in that role too. Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri even tried him behind the strikers, which could be another option. In any case, Urby declared several times that Milan was pivotal in him maturing as a complete footballer so I could even see him play as a ‘trequartista’ in a 4-3-1-2 formation.
Why do you think Milan allowed him to leave on loan?
At Milan, he met fierce competition for a starting spot from Luca Antonini and Mattia De Sciglio, who is the next big thing at the San Siro. Allegri and Milan decided to go with a new young and Italian philosophy in some key areas (see also Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli together in attack, something Italy’s manager Cesare Prandelli is very proud about) so Urby perhaps was in the right place but at the wrong time in Milan’s history.
Do you think he can be a success at Fulham?
Why not? The new ‘Oranje’ connection could play in Fulham’s favour. Whoever has come out from ‘De Toekomst’ (Ajax Academy) has always had the right frame of mind to succeed. Last year, I had the chance to interview Urby in the mixed zone after the Netherlands beat England 3-2 at Wembley and he told me that he was very happy to have played in London – a hint that he wouldn’t struggle to adapt quickly to his new life here. He just needs more minutes under his belt.