Ex-Bristol City and Chelsea striker has lit up Serie A along with another former Robin
Former West Country sharp-shooters have both enjoyed standout campaigns in Italy in 2021/22. We recount their seasons.
Former Bristol City striker Tammy Abraham added to his medal collection last week when he won the inaugural Europa Conference League with Roma to cap a great first season in Italy.
The 2016/17 Robins loanee added to his Toulon Tournament winners medal from 2018, a Championship Play-off winning medal from 2019, his Champions League and Super Cup winning medals from 2021 with Chelsea, and his FA Cup runners-up medal from the year before.
Abraham has enjoyed an impressive year after joining up in the Italian capital under the tutelage of the super-coach Jose Mourinho.
The former Chelsea forward - technically on loan for two years before a mandatory fee is paid by the Giallorossi - hit 23 goals in 41 Championship games under Lee Johnson.
And in his first year in Serie A he maintained a similar strike-rate: 17 goals in 37 league appearances, with another 10 goals netted in cup competitions (nine in Europe and one in the Italian Cup).
The powerful spearhead, who has linked up with the England antional team this week ahead of the Three Lions’ upcoming four Nations League matches, has sharpened up his game immeasurably from the tall teenager who learned to drive around Bristol and who enjoyed Johnson’s coaching sessions.
A brace at home against cross-city rivals Lazio was surely the highlight of the last months if not perhaps playing in the Euopean final itself in Tirana, which saw Mourinho win silverware again, at every club he has managed bar one.
A vital goal in the semi-final against Leciester City might be another special moment from Abraham’s 2021/22 campaign.
As the transfer market begins, Arsenal have been linked with the former Robins favourite, and international recognition could beckon for the 2017 Bristol City player of the year and Young player of the Year.
Abraham always expressed his wish to go on and compete at the highest levels, when the media questioned him on his intentions while in the South West.
But the 24-year-old is not the only former Robin having a major impact in Italy’s top tier this season.
How many City supporters remember the other striker to arrive at Ashton Gate during that same 2016/17 season?
Salernitana’s story this past 12 months is quite magnificent, as the South Western Italian side were promoted the year before and took until 2 October to register their first top tier win.
At the turn of the year they were bottom of the league with just eight points, with safety and the fourth from bottom place in the league another eight points away.
However, Davide Nicola’s side had former Bristol City striker Milan Djuric in the ranks. And the Bosnia and Herzogovina international - who scored six goals over two injury-hit campaigns in the West Country - was to prove pivotal to the Granata’s campaign.
Djuric, 32, had already scored the only goal in a win at home against Genoa to secure the first three points of the season. And the 6ft6 hitman was on target again, from the penalty spot, for the third win of the league season, coming at Hellas Verona on January 9, to give his side hope that they might make a miraculous escape from relegation.
Five draws in six Serie A games across February and early March stopped the run of losses. It was 17 defeats in 29 matches at this point - and something special was needed.
It came as former Torino boss Nicola was appointed with just a few months of the season left to play.
A run of four wins and three draws in the final eight games of the season ended with Salernitana being thrashed 0-4 by Udinese on the final day, but with Venezia holding Cagliari, Djuric’s Salernitana survived.
Djuric ended 2021/22 as the second top scorer for his team, with five goals from 23 starts and 10 substitute appearances, only behind Sampdoria loanee Federico Bonazzoli.
The one-time Robin ranked as the best-performing player in the squad, however, as per in-match data supplied by Opta,and via ranking on the WhoScored.com website, perhaps proving that former head coach Lee Johnson and Bristol City’s recruitment team were right to see something in the tall front-man five and a half years ago.