AS Torino of Italy defender, Ola Aina could be on his way back to playing in the English Premier League, as he has attracted exciting summer transfer attention from Everton and West Ham United, who are both reportedly keen on taking him away from his struggles in the Italian Serie A, megasportsarena.com reports.
Despite starting well with Torino, where he first played on loan two seasons ago from Chelsea of England, Aina has found the going pretty tough in his first full campaign with The Maroons and, having lost his regular shirt with the squad, speculation has emerged that he could jolly well opt to leave this summer.
That has left Aina open for talc about a possible return to England, where he also previously played on loan from Chelsea at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Hull City, which has now been buoyed by strong links coming from Everton and West Ham for the Super Eagles’ versatile player who Torino splashed €10m to sign on a permanent basis last summer.
Details of a report by Calciomercatio, added that Torino are willing to listen to offers for the dark-skinned full-back-cum-wing-back only because he has not totally convinced this season and the club’s chairman, Urbano Cairo has put a ten million euros price tag on him, which was the same fee they paid to sign him in a full contract from Chelsea.
The report further disclosed that Aina’s chances of moving to West Ham in London or Everton on Merseyside have been boosted by the fact that his Nigerian agent, Emeka Obasi has close ties with The Hammers and The Toffees.
Having successfully brokered the deal that took another Super Eagles’ player, Alex Iwobi from Arsenal to Everton last summer, Obasi appears confident of getting a similar deal for Aina, who has started 16 games and provided two assists in the Serie A this term, the last of which came only this past weekend against Cagliari.
Although Aina is now Nigeria’s first choice left-back, starting eight of their last 11 matches and notably remembered for his splendid back-heel assist that helped Odion Jude Ighalo get the Eagles’ opening goal in the group stage, en route to winning bronze at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations goal in Egypt, he has lost his impact at Torino.
While his contract will not run out until end of the 2022/23 season, the Turin-based side are willing to let him go this summer, as they are not impressed with his inconsistent form and they could end up selling him to either West Ham or Everton, who have both been linked with him in the past, but they will have to come up with Torino’s asking fee of €10m.
This comes few hours after Aina grabbed his second assist of the season for Torino, but he could not save them from suffering their 15th loss of the campaign, in a 4-2 loss away at Cagliari, with the soft-spoken lad back in the visitors’ starting 11 and his 15th game of the season.
Torino hoped to consolidate on their midweek win over William Troost-Ekong’s Udinese, but their hosts grabbed the early initiative when they struck twice in quick succession from Nahitan Nandez and Giovanni Simeone to take a 2-0 lead into half time, after which Radja Nainggolan made it 3-0 sixty seconds in, following which before Aina set up Gleison Bremer to make it 3-1.
Torino then raised the hope of a potential comeback when Andrea Belloti made it 3-2 five minutes later, only to have their hopes dashed when Joao Pedro scored four minutes later to seal all three points for the hosts in a 4-2 win.
Aina, who was on for 74 minutes before being replaced, finished with a rating of 6.7 over ten, made one key pass, completed 74% of his passes, won five duels, achieved one clearance and got one interception; but it is left to be seen if he can maintain his form and convince the egg heads at Torino that he deserves a longer stay with them beyond this summer.