According to an increasing number of reports, including the latest from Goal.com, Torino FC are expected to take up their €10m (£8.7m) buy-option on Ola Aina at some point before the end of the season.
This is hardly surprising given Aina’s success at Turin’s second team, a rather ironic development considering that one of the players he (indirectly) replaced there is Chelsea full back Davide Zappacosta who hasn’t exactly pulled up any trees since his arrival at Stamford Bridge 18 months ago.
In any case, the 22-year-old Aina has impressed in spades, and although he’s not been perfect, his potential is just as obvious now as it was in the Chelsea youth teams. Manager Walter Mazzarri, who certainly knows a thing or two about wing-backs, appears to agree.
“Aina? He entered [the game as a substitute] very well against Genoa, then I let him in the other day and he was distracted. He has enormous potential, I am convinced that he will become great. I would like to see him always have the same kind of performance”
-Walter Mazzarri; source: Torino FC via Google Translate
Given that Aina was sent on loan with a buy-option, this development was always going to be a distinct possibility. As Goal remind, he’s far from the only young player on Chelsea’s books in this situation (Pasalic, Omeruo, Angband, Pantic, Bakayoko, even Morata) — a trend that’s been probably motivated, at least in part, by expected changes in FIFA rules that will limit the number of loanees for any given club.