Tuesday July 8 2014
Cole a concern for Calcio?

Ashley Cole’s arrival in Rome is the latest in a wave of older Premier League players heading to Italy. Sam Lewis expresses his concern.

Although the ink is still drying and the Press conference is yet to take place, it will be rather inevitable to read and hear the first words new Roma signing Ashley Cole will say upon his announcement, barring some catastrophic PR disaster.

‘Excited to be part of this project’, is a phrase that will nestle comfortably among new player hyperbole that Cole will probably include, alongside hastily researched mutterings about Roman history and the intention to ‘win trophies’, and how likely that proposition is for the former England full-back at his new home.

However, the specifics of that likelihood are rather immaterial. For all the shiny grins had between Lupi officials and the former Chelsea defender, it’s probably not the decent odds on Roma winning the Scudetto in 2015 that drew the man once nicknamed ‘Cashley’ to the Italian capital. It might have something to do with the reported €5m a year he stands to earn now he’s there.

It’s hard to criticise Cole - it’s a lot of money to be offered - especially if you’re unemployed like the Englishman was. It is however, a rather large sum for a club in a widely cash strapped league to offer a 33-year-old coming off his least impressive season in over a decade.

Cole’s arrival is the newest in a recent trend, joining former Manchester United captain and 32-year-old Nemanja Vidic in the transformation from free agent in England to well-paid in Italy. Patrice Evra, though still under contract at Old Trafford, is expected to follow to Juventus.

This aspect aside, though, Ashley Cole does fill a gap for Rudi Garcia and his Roma side, offering experience and a much more reassuring presence than the revolving door of full-backs that have paraded down the left-flank for the Giallorossi since John Arne Riise left the club in 2011. Neither one of Dodo or Federico Balzaretti have ability that even remotely resembles Cole on form, who was arguably the world’s best in his position as recently as 2012.

That said, the move represents a somewhat concerning transfer strategy on the whole, when the context of the League is taken into account. Provided Evra begins next season in Turin - as is largely expected - three of Italy’ biggest sides will have acquired three players who were cast aside by Premier League clubs.

Be it injury, poor form, money or pragmatism on the part of these three players’ English employers, the fact remains that they have ended long Premier League careers, ones that perhaps could’ve been extended in different circumstances. As a result of those snubs, Serie A is picking up the pieces.

Bar the occasional exception in recent years like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Gonzalo Higuain, Serie A is now rarely the place where stars spend the best years of their athletic lives. It appears that there is a growing pattern that the peninsula is the place for the still-proud veteran, a respectable medium between the manic life of a Premier League footballer and the well-rewarded but incredibly dull professional existence in places like China, Australia, America or the United Arab Emirates.

It was once the other way round, the likes of Fabrizio Ravanelli, Gianluca Vialli and Ruud Gullit enjoying English holidays after a testing career in Calcio. The shift is notable, and concerning.

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Have your say...
I dont think we've had any great full-backs since Panucci and Cafu left Roma. And not to forget Candela. Now Cole offers experience which is highly valued now that Roma is back in CL.
on the 17th July, 2014 at 8:59pm
Serie A is dead anyway so who cares if we take another relic from the Prem.

Cole is only at Roma because no top team wanted him.
on the 12th July, 2014 at 7:15pm
Anon, you obviously can't read and what a shame you had to call me stupid. How old are you that you can't have a civil discussion? I shall spell it out slowly for you - I said a 'real' oriundo, i.e.: born of an Italian family abroad, but not like a Jorginho. Also, since we're being childish, learn to spell! Btw is there a law that you can't have a bit of a joke on this site? My 'stupid' dream has probably been had by millions - lighten up and grow up! F-O-R-Z-A A-Z-Z-U-R-R-I(Better for you?)
on the 11th July, 2014 at 6:37pm
Provincial teams should develop italian players? because the "big" italian clubs will buy them.... like germany. You are right the provincial teams should develop young players so they can sell them to Dortmund, PSG, Atletico Madrid etc - these clubs pay more than the italian ones, it makes perfect economic sense! What a comical response - the FIGC need a new head you should offer your enlightened, accountable and visionary services. I despair at this characterless, weak and spineless attitude.
on the 11th July, 2014 at 5:11pm
He is not earning € 5mil a year, first do your homework before judging Roma on that amount. Do you think Roma would offer him way more than Pjanic, Benatia, Gervinho, Strootman etc? Of course not, that would cause mutiny in the dressing room.
It is € 5mil BEFORE tax, so around € 2.8mil after, making him level with players mentioned above.
on the 11th July, 2014 at 2:37pm
I think the point many have missed is that Cole isn't actually that great. I don't like him as his character stinks and he's part of the over rated England generation (they call it the Golden generation!). Serie A won't suffer don't worry. 2006 was won when Italian football was in a mess but the squad still featured players all from the domestic league (Juve, Milan, Palermo and even Inter contributed with Materazzi). This Italy team wasn't quite ready, with a better manager it'll be fine.
on the 11th July, 2014 at 2:27pm
The situation in Serie A is similar, but not as bad as when I moved to the UK in the late 90s. Quite a few washed up and past their best stars of Serie A moving to the prem for better salaries. Nothing new. What this highlights is the lowering in standards of our league, and the obvious lack of money to attract players at the very top. This is a reality we have to accept. Look at alexis sanchez! he has moved to little arsenal, because Juve couldn't afford him! badly advised move, but money talks
on the 11th July, 2014 at 10:38am
@ Di Rocco spot on!
on the 11th July, 2014 at 7:50am
Your as stupid as your dream clearly!
for a player to be rejected by one nation and then take up nationality of another does not give a great sign of loyalty or passion does it?
think about it. Jorginho- brazil said no so he declared HIMSELF italian.
@maldini heir
your obviously an english based italian; if you were pro and italy said no to you, would u then play for england? If you answer is 'yes' then your not a true italian! Its simple!
Its called playing for YOUR country
on the 11th July, 2014 at 12:31am
Oriundi have always played a part in the national team - think 34, 38, 82 and 06! Half the 34 and 38 teams were oriundi from south America. Altafini, Sivori, Orsi, Gentile, need any more? If picked correctly they add to the team, e.g.:Germany!! A 'real' oriundo has as much passion as a 'real' Italian player. Imagine any one of us being asked to play - who would say, "no thanks, I'm not a real Italian?" (Btw, in my dream, prandelii did ask me to play - AND I scored THE WINNER in the final!)
on the 10th July, 2014 at 9:47pm
All this talk about oriundi this and oriundi that, I say shut up ya'll..... you mean to tell me a player that is willing to sweat and spit blood on the field for the club shirt or the shirt of their adopted country[ITALY], I say to me he deserve's first team call up or play time and mostly RESPECT..... AND ON THAT NOTE, remember CAMORANESI yup I'm sure you do. Well in 2006 HE was one of the best players and was a JUVENTINI, WHICH they the won the world cup.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 8:20pm
And more so, the provincial teams in Italy need to be doing MUCH MORE to nurture young talent. You people forget most of Germanys great players did not come up through the BIG teams. They were developed in smaller clubs and bought up by Munich or foreign teams. Kroos, Ozil, Reus, Khedira, and more all sharpened their swords on smaller clubs before hitting the big time. The same must happen in Italy. Its just unfortunate teams like Milan, Inter, Juve, can hardly afford to invest in them.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 8:09pm
GIVE ME A BREAK! Cole was a FREE signing. Roma will be competing in the CL next season, they need a LB. What are they suppose to do? Sign Murru and go out in the group stage and further hinder our coefficient points? Get real, Roma have Destro, Florenzi, & Romagnoli who happen to be three of the brightest young talents in Italian football. Not to mention experienced Italians in Totti, DDR, & De Sanctis. Italy need results in the CL & EL, simple as that.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 8:05pm
@ mm I thought I'd put things in perspective for you. At least we know where you're coming from with your criticisms of certain players.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 6:22pm
@maldini heir
Great another subject you know everything and nothing about. Im done talking to you. You actually are as stupid as your comments make you out to be. O and thankyou for the history lesson.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 4:40pm
I couldnt agree more if Italy became like France in 98 or even france now for that matter, then I certainly wouldnt feel able to support them.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 4:26pm
A few weeks ago, we crashed out of the WC. there was an enormous gnashing of teeth and pain and anger, and the Italian football was going to be put right, and the clubs had to be part of the solution, blah, blah, blah... and then Roma sign Ashley Cole. Surely there has to be a young Italian left back that would merit a place in the Roma team?! Whilst the clubs continue to do this - and they will - arrivederci azzurri and shame on the figc! Useless.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 4:15pm
I'm not fussed about parents passports- if you feel italian then you would not play for Argentina/Brazil in the first place at any level! I look at the Milan youth teams & it is a multicultural mix with players of non-italian descent, that are either born in italy or brought up in Italy. These kids feel Italian and have the right to expect the oppurtunity to represent their country over some ex Brazilian U21 player. Not sure what you mean about France 98 - Zidane is French? El Shaarawy Italian?
on the 10th July, 2014 at 11:13am
@ mm Current best estimates suggest that the big bang occurred 13b years ago, earth was formed 4b years ago, humans have been on the planet for about 2.3m years and Italy has existed as a single state for just over 150 years. So in the grander scheme of things you're talking complete rubbish. Nationality is completely man made concept. It's a bit fun in sport but that's as far it goes. If Italy could re-create the conditions of the French team in 98 I for one would be absolutely delighted.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 11:13am
MM - agree with you 100% - can't stand these tenuous orioundi. They play for the country of their birth at youth level, r then not good enough to progress & then we lap them up. It is a short term solution & to me illustrates a Psychological problem with calcio - they don't believe in themselves. How can you win anything at International level if you don't believe in your own quality? The constant underlying mentality is the grass is greener, accept that we have our own footballing identity.
on the 10th July, 2014 at 11:06am
I mean converting regected player is demoralising for those who are actually italian.Kingsley boetang is another player billed to be super billed to be the scorer italy needs- but I ask how he is italian, he wasnt born in italy and both parents are ghanaian.
Im bored of this topic but sick that ppl can't speak out. I would be really bothered if italy ever become like france of '98. Look at all those ex players now- suddenly they are all algerian/ghanaian again!
Essien n honda are pros too!
on the 9th July, 2014 at 6:02pm
@maldini heir
if you read what I have put then youl see that I have no issues with italians born outside of italy as long as they have 1 or both parents that are italian, I also clearly wrote about those born in italy, ogbonna is a great player and I hope he breaks thro. My problem is those players who have been regected by their nations and they BECOME italian! You cant just wake up and feel italian! Amauri is a great example we waited for him decide if he was brazilian or italian... 1/2
on the 9th July, 2014 at 5:54pm
Don't dare say you support Italy as you will make people laugh! I guess the countries that you have previously been jumping on the band waggon are no longer in the limelight? 
on the 9th July, 2014 at 5:51pm
You have the audacity to mention my name......your a laughing stock if you use that one. The only people you are probably Dominating is your own kind. And people like you I'm guessing from your name are slowly but surely being picked up by the media and authorities and being locked up, upto a minimum of 5 years and 9 months. My name! Can you believe this clown! Go on your being called as the lights are going out soon.
on the 9th July, 2014 at 5:29pm
@ JJ Spot on, Serie A is the transit league from EPL/Primera to the MLS/A-League or whatever its called in China. However this has been the case for years.
on the 9th July, 2014 at 4:36pm
Look, for all you Premier League bashers wise up! It wasn't the Premier League that destroyed Calcio Italiano it was corrupt owners, agents and politicians all of whom are Italian. The reason for the purchase of the Evras and Coles of this world is because the owners of Italian football teams are broke comparatively speaking. They strut around the piazzas like Don Fanucci for the show of being Il signore in the region and don't have the money to think big. Get used to it!
on the 9th July, 2014 at 3:59pm
How on earth are young promising Italian players going to get regular game time if Serie A clubs keep bringing in old, past their best players from abroad ? England has had this problem ever since the Greed League or the Premier League as they call it adopted exactly that line. Watch the Azzurri slowly produce less and less young rising stars over the next couple of decades. Figc have no power to impose a stirct maximum No of foreign players in a Serie A team. Watch our decline now !
on the 9th July, 2014 at 1:44pm

I support Italy you silly little worm. Just your username gives away how much of a boring useless human being you must be.

You don't have to wait to the CL, i can criticise Serie A all day long right now based on the last few years and you will do nothing more than cry
on the 9th July, 2014 at 12:48pm
My post was edited so an important bit was missed. I said my main concern is quality not where people come from. If we sign quality foreigners and develop quality young players then the league will improve and so will the national team. This is what they have done in Germany.
on the 9th July, 2014 at 12:31pm
I heard numerous comparisons at the world cup stating that country's with a small population are still managing to produce quality players where country's like italy and England with a much larger population seem unable to do so. The point is the players from these country's are playing in all the different leagues across europe hence why both serie A and the premier league have so few spaces filled by home grown players
on the 9th July, 2014 at 12:00pm

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