Seven minutes into his AC Milan debut Saturday and Adel Taarabtwas already showing the Milanista exactly why he had been brought in on loan from Queens Park Rangers, bursting towards the Napoli defence and despatching a precise shot past Pepe Reina to lead at the San Paolo.
However, with the Rossoneri failing to improve upon that early lead, eventually suffering a 3-1 defeat, his impressive arrival onto Italian shores almost encapsulates his career to date.
A career that will leave fans wondering if he can actually have a long-term future with the club.
Desperate to improve their current league position, the Moroccan international is certainly capable of giving Clarence Seedorf’s side the creativity to win valuable points and provide a much need moral boost to fans and teammates.
With a swagger and directness like that displayed by fellow Premier League flopGervinho on his arrival in Serie A last summer, the former Tottenham man’s skill with the ball will strike a similar fear into most opposing defenders he faces.
The way in which the Napoli defence retreated at the threat of the 24-year-old box of tricks bearing down on them had a certain deja vu of what many have witnessed the Ivorian undertaking this term and it is something that Milan and many others in Serie A do not possess in great quantities.
Robinho has been off-form since before Christmas and with Stephan El-Shaarawy a long-term absentee, the attacking threat at the San Siro of Mario Balotelli, Keisuke Honda andGiampaolo Pazzini is, albeit talented, somewhat static.
However, despite his immediate impact, the Rossoneri have (possibly out of necessity) made a shrewd decision in acquiring Taarabt on loan with his habit of fading once he has established himself as an integral member of the team and secured a transfer.
This was certainly the case at parent club QPR where, after 26 goals in 88 appearances to gain promotion to the Premier League, he wilted under the pressure of the top tier and gave sporadic glimpses of his undoubted qualities, arguably upset by the arrival of some big names and the club were relegated in their second season.
Even when ignoring his failure to break through at Tottenham, the inability to thrive at the highest level and alongside supposed ‘bigger names’, raises even more questions of his long-term suitability. This will be even more prominent at Milan, where Balotelli and Kaka are worldwide names and a Scudetto challenge is a minimum requirement.
The former Lens youth prospect could not even secure a first-team place while on loan at bottom clubFulham earlier this season, yet will be expected to give the Rossoneri hope that they can overcome high flying Atletico Madrid in their upcoming Champions League clash.
While the Moroccan may show several more examples of his undoubted natural ability this season during their attempts to overhaul a seven point gap between them and neighbours Inter and secure European qualification, fans should appreciate him for the short-term spark he may help create. But even with age on his side, Milan will need a much better options in the forthcoming years to become a force again.