Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy has joined Roma on loan from AC Milan for the rest of the season. Italian football expert Paolo Menicucci weighs up his potential impact.
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Italy forward Stephan El Shaarawy has joined Roma on loan from AC Milan until the end of the season. The UEFA Champions League contenders have the option to make the deal permanent in the summer for a fee of €13m.
The 23-year-old known as the 'Little Pharaoh' failed to score in 15 Ligue 1 outings for Monaco in the first half of the campaign and returns to Italy eager to rediscover his form ahead of UEFA EURO 2016.
"Roma is a great opportunity for me," he said. "I look forward to starting work and trying to help the team as quickly as possible." El Shaarawy, who has been capped 17 times by Italy, is the first signing since Luciano Spalletti's appointment last week. He will wear the No22 shirt.
Expert view: How he could fit in at Roma
Considering his injury problems and recent record, El Shaarawy is a risky bet for Spalletti. The Roma coach hopes he can resurrect the player of 2012/13 who registered 16 Serie A goals and, aged 19, became Milan's youngest ever UEFA Champions League scorer – against a Zenit side then led by Spalletti.
The coach has begun his second Roma spell using a 3-5-2 system, but El Shaarawy could be perfect roaming behind a striker in Spalletti's more favoured 4-2-3-1. Perhaps on the left, where he can operate as an inverted winger, cutting in and shooting with his right foot. El Shaarawy needs no motivation with UEFA EURO 2016 looming large.