Juventus striker Simone Zaza has officially ended his West Ham United nightmare by joining Valencia. The Italy international moves to La Liga on loan until the end of the season, with Los Che retaining the option to complete a full-time deal during the summer.
Achieving fame as a meme on social media worldwide following his disastrous penalty during Italy's quarter-final shootout defeat to Germany at Euro 2016, Zaza became West Ham's 11th summer signing last August as Slaven Bilic sought to increase his attacking options and compensate for injuries to Andy Carroll and Andre Ayew.
That season-long loan, which cost the club an initial €5m (£4.3m, $5.2m) with a €20m permanent transfer and a further €3m in contingency payments automatically triggered after a certain number of Premier League appearances – reported to be 14 – proved to be something of a disaster.
The 25-year-old failed to score once during 11 appearances for the Hammers across all competitions and Bilic confirmed earlier this month the Italian had not done enough to impress during that initial five-month period.
"He is still our player until he goes somewhere but mainly because of the situation with his contract he is finished here," the manager said. "Unfortunately we had to judge him on six, seven, eight games which is not a big pattern to judge a player in general. He is definitely a good player but like many times in football, it just didn't happen."
According to Sky Sports, Valencia have paid an initial £1.75m loan fee for Zaza. A fixed price of £14m plus £1.5m in add-ons will be due at the end of the season provided that the player makes more than 10 appearances and Voro's 17th-place side avoid demotion to the second tier of Spanish football.
Zaza's proposed move to Estadio de Mestalla initially looked as if it would not happen, with former head coach Cesare Prandelli resigning his position after less than three months in charge in December partly due to that apparent failure. Sporting director Jesus Garcia Pitarch also stepped down a fortnight ago to increase the sense of crisis surrounding a club that have now had 10 different managers since sacking Unai Emery back in 2012.
Supporters have held demonstrations against the ownership, although lingering relegation fears were eased somewhat on Sunday (15 January) as goals from Martin Montoya and Santi Mina secured a 2-1 home win over Espanyol. Valencia currently sit one place and four points above the drop zone and boast a game in hand on all three teams below them.