Had the Chelsea Youth Revolution™ arrived just a few years earlier, Ola Aina would’ve been undoubtedly one of its foremost beneficiaries. After all, the Chelsea Academy graduate had already managed to collect six appearances in less than favorable circumstances as Chelsea won the title in 2016-17, and looked ready to build on that foundation.
Like for many of his generation however, that was not to be. Aina was sent on loan to Hull City that summer, with Chelsea wasting money on Davide Zappacosta from Torino FC instead. In an ultimate bit of irony, Aina would be sent on loan to Torino twelve months later, who then made the move permanent by season’s end.
Aina’s second season in Torino saw the team sink to 16th however, barely avoiding relegation after finishing in the European spots the season prior, and the club have hit the reset button in many respects this summer. That has included a coaching change to former Sarri disciple (and non-wing-back fan) Marco Giampaolo and the signings of left back Ricardo Rodgríguez (a familiar name from Chelsea rumor mills of yore) and right back Mërgim Vojvoda.
Evidently, Aina was thus considered surplus to requirements, with the 23-year-old allowed to leave on loan, with an option to buy to boot.
Fortunately for Ola, his landing spot was a place close to home, just down the road from Stamford Bridge in fact. Yesterday, he was announced as Fulham’s newest signing, joining on a season-long loan with a €12.5m option to buy.
At newly promoted Fulham, Aina will be managed by former Chelsea player Scott Parker, while reuniting with fellow former Chelsea loanee Michael Hector. Aina and Hector were on loan at Hull City together a couple years ago in fact, adding further to the feelings of home comforts for the London-born former Chelsea man, who joined the Blues at the under-11 level.
“I feel very excited and privileged to be able to play for a Club like this. It feels amazing to be back closer to my family, back in the capital where I was born and raised.
“There’s a great bunch of lads here. I’m really good friends with Big Hec and Josh Onomah.
“I feel very comfortable on either foot, I can fill in wherever needs be. I’d say I’m pretty quick and I like to attack, but I also like to help the team and do the dirty work as much as I can.”
-Ola Aina; source: Fulham FC
We wish all the best of luck to Ola in his return to the Premier League, starting with tomorrow’s opening match against Arsenal.