15/04/2024

Melbourne City has signed former Empoli forward Manuel Pucciarelli. (Photo: A-League Men/Twitter)

Whilst Melbourne City's attack is already full of stars, it didn't stop the reigning champions from adding some more firepower to the frontline, signing veteran Italian forward Manuel Pucciarelli on a two-year deal. 

Whilst Melbourne City’s attack is already full of stars, it didn’t stop the reigning premiers and champions from adding some more firepower to the frontline, signing veteran Italian forward Manuel Pucciarelli on a two-year deal. 

Manuel Pucciarelli had spent his whole career in Italy up until earlier this year, and now faces a fresh new challenge after signing for Melbourne City.

Pucciarelli has been playing in the Serie A and Serie B his whole professional career, until a short loan spell in the UAE for Dibba Al Fujairah early in 2021.

He spent the most time at Empoli, where he played his whole youth career as well as enjoying a further nine seasons in the senior setup. Pucciarelli made a total of 122 appearances for the club, scoring 17 goals and providing 13 assists. 

The 30-year-old also played a crucial role in Empoli’s 2013/14 Serie B season, featuring in 37 league games and tallying six goals and three assists as it achieved promotion into the Serie A.

Whilst the Italian is predominantly a second striker, he has spent some time as an attacking midfielder or centre-forward, proving he can be versatile for Patrick Kisnorbo’s side. 

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However, it seems unlikely that the 30-year-old forward will be starting in the attack early on, with Socceroos Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout and Jamie Maclaren being the number one options. 

In saying that, all it takes is one injury and Pucciarelli could find himself in the starting XI. Melbourne City is also not a team that is known to use a second striker, so when Pucciarelli does feature he could be pushed deeper into the midfield, or it’s even possible he could be used on the wings, another position he has briefly played in.

The deep-lying forward position that Pucciarelli has spent the majority of his career playing could be a valuable asset to his new side however. 

The main role of the position is to create chances for the main striker, and considering the Italian has started in that position more than 140 times in his career, it’s fair to say he must have a creative flair about him.

With young stars Marco Tilio and Stefan Colakovski spending some time on the left-wing and in the number nine role so far in preseason, it’s possible that Pucciarelli’s creative flair could be used on the right-wing throughout the season. 

With this addition as well as many other dangerous attacking options at Melbourne City this season, they will be a very difficult team to stop as they aim to go back-to-back in season 2021/22.

Catch Pucciarelli and the Melbourne City team in action this Friday night in the A-League opener at AAMI Park against Brisbane Roar.

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