BLACKBURN boss Graeme Souness believes Lorenzo Amoruso can be a massive influence on and off the pitch next season as he looks to take Rovers to the next level.

The 32-year-old was finally unveiled to the Press yesterday after completing the formalities of his £1.4 million move from Rangers.

And Souness insists the Italian has the kind of presence which will make an intimidating force in the Premiership over the next three years.

"I see Amo as a leader, without a doubt," said Souness.

"He's vastly experienced and I think he plays his football in the way you would describe a leader.

"Obviously, when you sign players you try to do your homework in terms of what he's like off the pitch as well.

"And from all the questions I've asked about him, I got the answers I wanted so I'm sure he'll be a big influence at this football club.

"In Lorenzo, I believe we've signed a man. And I use the word man because, although he's 32, you still get 32-year-old boys in this game.

"I've got the feeling he's going to be an enormous help to me in the dressing room.

"Good senior professionals are a vital part of a good team and I see him not only being a big influence on the pitch, but a big one off it as well."

Souness made the recruitment of a top defender his number one priority once it became clear that Henning Berg was no longer part of his long-term plans.

And he quickly identified Amoruso as his main target after hearing favourable reports from his extensive network of contacts north of the border.

The former Fiorentina star was a huge hero at Rangers where he won three titles, four Scottish and three League cups during his six-year stay at Ibrox.

That kind of pedigree was enough to convince Souness to part with £1.4 million of his transfer budget to persuade him to move to England.

And the Rovers boss believes he will bring some much-needed steel to the heart of his back four as he looks to smash the cartel at the top of the Premiership.

"In this game you never stop learning and I've definitely learnt something in my time at Blackburn which is the centre of defence is such an important part of your team," said Souness.

"If you look at where goals are scored, it's generally in and around your 18-yard box.

"If a full-back makes a mistake then your centre-back can still get them out of the river with a timely interception.

"So if you've got two quality, experienced centre-backs then you're not going to concede many goals.

"I also think our players will enjoy playing with Lorenzo because he takes responsibility, too.

"He takes the ball under pressure and I'm very excited to have him here."

As for the player himself, Amoruso is relishing the opportunity to test himself against some of the best strikers in the business after spending the last six years in Scotland.

"There are plenty of top strikers in the Premiership but I'm used to that after playing at Fiorentina," said the powerful Italian.

"Even in Scotland where the quality of players isn't quite the same, you've still got to keep your concentration 100 per cent.

"But every defender in Europe would like to face top strikers and top players and that's the case for me with Blackburn now.

"The Premier League is a tough league but I'm delighted to be here and looking forward to the challenge."

The prospect of working under a manager like Souness was also another major factor in his decision to swap Ibrox for Ewood.

"I spoke with the manager very early in the summer and the feeling was good from the very first phonecall," added the former Rangers man.

"I didn't know him properly at that point but, from speaking to people in Glasgow, I knew what kind of man he was and I like that kind of attitude.

"I like people who are straight and know what they want because I'm like that myself.

"Sometimes people will think I'm arrogant or over confident but I don't care.

"That's my attitude and that's the way I am. Whether I'm good or bad, I just try to do my best all the time."


1971: Born Bari, Italy, June 28.

1988-1995: Has three spells with Bari, playing a total of 75 league games, scoring three goals, with brief interludes at Mantova and Pescavo.

1995: Moves to Serie A giants Fiorentina and stays two seasons, playing 54 league games and scoring three goals.

1997: Joins Rangers for £4million. Makes his debut against Celtic but plays only four league games that season after being ruled out for 10 months. Amoruso needed three operations on an Achilles tendon injury.

1998: Makes a brief appearance in the Scottish Cup final in May but Rangers lose to Hearts and end the season without a trophy. Appointed captain by manager Dick Advocaat in the new season and picks up his first trophy, the League Cup, when St Johnstone are defeated in November.

1999: Rangers complete a domestic Treble with Amoruso as skipper by winning the Scottish Premier League title and then the Scottish Cup in May by beating Old Firm rivals Celtic.

The Scottish champions are knocked out of the UEFA Cup by Borussia Dortmund on December 7 and Amoruso is caught on TV appearing to mouth racial abuse at Nigerian Victor Ikpeba. Amoruso admits making a racist taunt and apologises for his actions.

2000: Skippers Rangers to a second Premier League title but misses the Scottish Cup final win over Aberdeen through injury. Turns down a close season move to Sunderland and vows to fight for his place following the arrival of Dutch Euro 2000 star Bert Konterman.

October 31: Stripped of captaincy by coach Dick Advocaat following a dismal 3-0 home defeat by Kilmarnock.

December 27: West Ham begin talks to take Amoruso to the English Premiership but the deal never comes off.

2001: May - Claims he will quit Rangers at the of the season.

September 21 - Signs a new two-year extension to his deal, keeping him contracted to the club until 2004, after failing to find a new team in the summer.

2003: March 16 - Plays in Rangers team which beats Celtic 2-1 to lift the League Cup

May 25 - Wins third championship with Rangers in the closest title race in history after a 6-1 victory at home to Dunfermline.

31 - Scores the only goal in Rangers' Scottish Cup victory over Dundee.

July 14 - Completes £1.4m three-year deal with Blackburn Rovers.