Olaoluwa Aina is at a crossroads in his career; the point where the next decision could greatly impact his football legacy and finances, all at the same time.
Aina, 26, has grown from the kid, whose budding talent in the reverential era of Chelsea’s academy was projected to see him compete on the highest level.
Yet it has been four seasons since he left the dream of regular first team football at Stamford Bridge behind him with the hope that like many before him, he’d make his mark in Italy, a Country where the art of defending was forged – Catenaccio – and many greats honed and established their unique abilities there.
That path to becoming one of the greats isn’t plain sailing and particularly with Aina it has been tumultuous.
Although he has only really worked under three Managers since his permanent move to Piedmont, Torino hasn’t been the home even the player would have hoped it’ll be.
He joined the lesser or two great teams in the City, but occasional dip in form, injuries and the game politics has thrown the Nigerian from pillar to post; tested his mettle.
Once he was shipped out on loan to lowly Fulham, back in London. It was a reprieve, and in spite of its measurable gain for the versatile player, that spell also, generally, was a dent.
Though he’d have preferred a permanent move back to the Prem, it wasn’t to be and now he’ll enjoy the privilege of the dernier cri on which colors he’d suit up in next.
At this point, with two months to the end of his contract at Torino the options of a big move – as he’s almost certain to be on his way out – might not be on the table.
So far this season, Aina has made only 16 appearances in Serie A – his lowest since leaving Chelsea in 2019/20 season – but also only five appearances less than last season and there are still nine games before the end of the campaign.
Regardless of the aforementioned, for the skills set and ability he possess, finding a club where he can rediscover his passion and aim for big goals shouldn’t be impossible.