Something of a storm has been swirling around Ashley Cole since he arrived in the Italian capital over the summer, his transition to life in the peninsula not particularly smooth.
The former Chelsea left-back chose Serie A as his new challenge upon leaving Stamford Bridge in the summer, having spurned the opportunity to move to MLS.
Times have so far been tough for the Englishman abroad. From some nervy performances in the league to his Champions League pasting by Arjen Robben, it has been turbulent.
Cole has gotten plenty of stick from the Italian press. His poor form has been used as a retroactive explanation for why Chelsea let him go, with the flop label widely applied.
Given the incredible amount of talk that has surrounded Cole, it’s almost hard to believe that up to this point he’s made only 10 appearances in a Roma shirt.
Reports on the 33-year-old’s status in the past month have been dominated by the suggestion that he could make a quick exit in January from the Stadio Olimpico.
MLS – which didn’t pique Cole’s interest in the summer – has been tipped as a destination, while Manchester United were even said to be interested in taking him back to the Premier League.
But Cole’s agent David Manasseh has maintained that the former Blue is content in the Eternal City, adapting to his new surroundings better with each passing day.
According to Sky Sport Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio, Cole is indeed focused on integrating into his new environment.
“Ashley Cole will improve once he’s learnt the language,” Di Marzio writes. “The former Chelsea man is closely studying Italian every day, a sign that he hasn’t already started packing to move to MLS or other destinations. If that were the case, studying would be a waste of time.”
It’s been suggested before that Cole has struggled partly due to the language barrier, which has impeded his ability to communicate with his team-mates on the pitch.
Furthermore, he’ll better absorb the ideas put to him in training as his Italian comprehension improves, while settling in to daily life will become easier in turn.
As Di Marzio notes, Cole appears to be putting in the necessary effort. If he were eyeing an escape to the United States, learning the language wouldn’t be on the docket.
Cole’s studies serve to corroborate what his agent has said about wanting to continue his adventure at Roma, though it remains to be seen what his legacy there will be.
There’s still time for Cole to prove that age hasn’t taken too much of a toll on his abilities, and learning the Italian language should at the very least give him a platform spring off of at Roma.