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Who is Jonathan Calleri? Profile of West Ham's new loan signing

Argentina's player Jonathan Calleri reacts during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games first Round Group D men's football match Argentina vs Honduras, at the Mane Ga
Image: What can West Ham fans expect from new boy Jonathan Calleri? All you need to know about the Argentine striker...

West Ham have added another striker to their ranks with the season-long loan signing of Jonathan Calleri from Deportivo Maldonado.

Having starred alongside Hammers' idol Carlos Tevez for Boca and finished as top scorer of this year's Copa Libertadores, Calleri has forged a reputation as one of the most exciting young strikers in South America. 

So what can West Ham fans expect from new signing Calleri…

Does Calleri make your team?

Does Calleri make your team?

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Profile

Age: 22

Position: Striker

Nationality: Argentine

Also See:

International Caps: 0 (5 caps, 1 goal for U23s)

Background

Born in Buenos Aires, Calleri followed in the footsteps of his uncle, former Argentina international Nestor Fabbri, by making his formative steps at Club Atletico All Boys - a small but historic club nestled in the Floresta neighbourhood of the capital, where Tevez also began his career.

Like Tevez, Calleri's next destination was Boca Juniors. His record of six goals in 30 appearances for relegated All Boys meant that he arrived at the Bombonera in July 2014 without much of a fanfare, and initially struggled for game-time under legendary coach Carlos Bianchi.

Nevertheless, he forced his way into the first team with six goals in 15 matches, finishing the Torneo Transicion as Boca's top scorer.

The arrival of Rodolfo Arruabarrena in the dugout brought about a focus on youth and Calleri became a regular, scoring 15 goals in all competitions as Boca won a league and cup double. 

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The arrival of Carlos Tevez midway through the season proved to be the catalyst for Boca's success and Calleri immediately struck up a prolific partnership with the former West Ham player.

Calleri's economic rights were bought by Uruguayan side Deportivo Maldonado at the beginning of 2016 and the striker was close to joining Inter Milan before eventually signing for Sao Paulo on a six-month loan.

The 22-year-old quickly adapted to life in Brazil and was the top scorer in the Copa Libertadores with nine goals in 12 games as Sao Paulo reached the semi-finals.

Manchester City's Carlos Tevez wears a West Ham United shirt as he leaves the field of play after the final whistle, v Man City, May 2010
Image: Calleri has starred alongside Hammers' idol Carlos Tevez for Boca Juniors

This summer, Calleri lead the line for Argentina in the Olympic Games in Rio, scoring once against Honduras before they crashed out at the group stage.

Style

Combining technique, power and tireless work-rate, Calleri looks to be a good fit for the hi-octane world of the Premier League.

Despite not being the tallest at 5ft 10in, Calleri possesses good heading ability and has the strength to hold the ball up and link play. 

His willingness to run into the channels and drift wide makes him a slightly different proposition to a traditional out-and-out striker, but he possesses the requisite movement, burst of acceleration and nous inside the box to lead the line if necessary.  

Boca Juniors' forward Jonathan Calleri (C) kicks a rabona during their Argentina First Division football match at the La Bombonera stadium, in Buenos Aires
Image: Calleri finished as top scorer of this year's Copa Libertadores

Although lacking the skillset and low centre of gravity compared to fellow countrymen Sergio Aguero or Paulo Dybala, Calleri does still have the ability to conjure up a moment of magic, as demonstrated by his audacious rabona lob against Quilmes last year.   

Comparisons to Gonzalo Higuain may be somewhat premature but the young Argentinian striker has proven his worth at some of the biggest clubs in South America and will relish the challenge of establishing himself in the Premier League.

How will he fit in at West Ham?

Calleri is unlikely to be first choice at London Stadium and talk of Carlos Bacca or another marquee signing being brought in could see him further down the pecking order. Still only 22, Calleri will most likely be seen as a long-term project for the future.

Nevertheless, Slaven Bilic will need to rotate his West Ham side if they are to deal with the rigours of Europa League football and, as a result, Calleri could see plenty of game time. 

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic at training
Image: Calleri is unlikely to be first choice at London Stadium under Slaven Bilic

He has already consulted former team-mate Tevez and the presence of Manuel Lanzini should help him to settle in East London, as he attempts to emulate his fellow Argentinians.

He may still be raw but if the rough edges are polished and provided he can adapt to the tempo of English football, Calleri could well be a very shrewd signing for West Ham as they look to build on last season's seventh place finish.

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