Following his first full professional season, a successful loan from Chelsea at Championship club Hull City, full back Ola Aina needed a bigger challenge this year. To do so, he took his talents to Italy, joining Serie A club Torino on a season-long loan deal.
His mission is to keep improving as a player, and it is always easier to do that when you are already feeling connected with the environment and the group around you.
“I’m here to grow and improve. Also because the coach was very convincing. Here I immediately found myself very well. I already have friends like [Soualiho] Meité, [Erick] Ferigra and [Simone] Edera who made me feel at home immediately.”
Aina had a long host of suitors for his services during the summer transfer window, with clubs all over Europe looking to add him to the squad. Out of all options, he chose Torino because of his chance to play in one of the world’s strongest leagues, and to overcome a good challenge in his young career.
“It was a great chance to come here, and I have not thought twice about it. You play in one of the top European football series, and in a top team. I like challenges, I always face them with my head held high. I think it was worth it. I am happy with my first weeks of Italian experience.”
At age 21, there are plenty of way in which Aina can improve his own game, both on the defensive and attacking ends, as well as in the mental and tactical aspects.
“[I have to improve] tactically, first of all. I have to improve in this respect. In England we run a lot and you put a lot of your body; in Italy we must first think about what kind of football to propose.
“And then I would like to learn to score more and to achieve more assists. As a child I used to play as a wing, then they set me back as a defender. With this form I can do both phases, and I really enjoy myself.”
Before leaving on assignment, Aina extended his tenure with Chelsea until 2021. However, Torino also have buy-option to the tune of €10m. So Aina is a bit cryptic about his future at this moment. It’s too early to decide anything.
“Just as I do not know what will happen to me: I’m here on loan, but I feel at home, I can safely say. I do not know if, however, at the end of the year I will still be in Italy, or here again.”
-Ola Aina; Source: Gianluca Di Marzio via Google Translate
A successful loan spell could indeed do wonders for Aina’s career. His current coach Walter Mazzarri is already quite impressed with him. So far, so good!