This time last season, Serie A defences were trembling at the sight of Alessio Cerci coming their way in a Torino shirt.
Striking up a brilliant attacking partnership with Ciro Immobile, the Italian had bagged an impressive nine goals and seven assists by mid-December.
By the end of the campaign, the Roma youth product had proven to have a hand in 23 of the Granata’s total 58 goals, attracting interest from around Europe.
Immobile departed the Stadio Olimpico for Borussia Dortmund early in the summer while Cerci had to wait, ultimately snapped up by Atletico Madrid on deadline day.
But while Cerci was expected to pick up where he left off in the Spanish capital, it’s instead been a turbulent few months for him in Madrid.
The Italy international has played just 153 minutes of football between La Liga and the Champions League, picking up a red card and tallying just a single goal.
Cerci’s lone start for Atleti came in the Copa del Rey round of 32 against L’Hospitalet, going the full 90 minutes in a 3-0 first leg victory.
Arsenal, Tottenham and AC Milan are all thought to be weighing up a January move for him, with the Spanish champions potentially open to shipping him out almost immediately.
Atletico will reportedly need to be faced with a €10 million bid to sell after paying €14 million for Cerci in September, a significant sum for a struggling, but talented, player.
Meanwhile, Cerci has also received another personal blow. The 27-year-old has been dropped from the Atleti squad for the return leg against L’Hospitalet on Thursday.
But it’s not because of his poor form. Cerci sustained an abdominal injury in training on Wednesday, leaving him on the outside looking in for a match he likely would’ve played in.
As of now, it’s unclear how long the issue will keep Cerci sidelined. That being said, it could be a factor in his suitors ultimately deciding whether or not to make a move for him.
The Italian admitted last month that he is frustrated sitting on the bench in Madrid, fueling speculation he could personally push for a move away in the New Year.
But getting hurt at an inopportune time hampers both his prospects of breaking through at Atleti and earning a fresh start elsewhere, piling on the problems.
What will become of Cerci in 2015 thus remains to be seen, with the Italian’s latest setback potentially playing a role in how things will pan out over the course of January for him.