Toure take note: Five former Premier League stars struggling in Italy

Yaya Toure

With the Manchester City man a rumoured target for Roberto Mancini at Inter Milan, here are five ex-Premier League players having a tough time in Serie A.

They say the grass is always greener on the other side and when it comes to Yaya Toure’s future this summer, it’s a phrase well worth keeping in mind.

Set to turn 32 this May, the Ivorian may be contemplating a move that would see him swap the green grass of the Etihad and Manchester for something more glamorous and certainly sunnier in Milan.

The Mirror are among those to stoke such rumours, with reports suggesting that Inter Milan could be preparing a summer bid for the midfielder with manager Roberto Mancini keen for a City reunion of sorts.

But before Toure gets too carried away with any speculation, it could be wise for the Africa Cup of Nations winner to heed some warnings from the not-too-distant past.

After all, plenty of familiar Premier League faces can currently be found toiling away in Serie A to little or no avail. Here are just five of them.

Lukas Podolski – Inter Milan

Though never a first-team regular during his time at the Emirates, Podolski still proved himself more than capable of weighing in with a goal or two for Arsenal and headed to the San Siro on loan this January after scoring 31 goals in 82 outings for the Gunners.

His time in Milan has been nothing short of a disaster, however, with the 29-year-old failing to find the net in 12 outings for the Nerazzurri. La Gazzetta dello Sport named him the second worst mid-season signing of the campaign and he was also responsible for arguably the worst corner ever.

Micah Richards – Fiorentina

Frozen out of the first team picture at the Etihad under Manuel Pellegrini, Richards was commended for his decision to move to Florence prior to the close of the summer transfer window, with the player regarded as one of a dying breed of stars willing to move away from England.

But the 26-year-old has struggled for game time in Serie A with manager Vincenzo Montella preferring to start the defender in the Europa League. So far, Richards has made just eight league appearances for La Viola and they look unlikely to take up the £4.7 million option to sign him.

Michu – Napoli

Signed from Rayo Vallecano for a bargain £2 million by Swansea back in the summer of 2012, Michu was a sensation during his first season in the Premier League, scoring 18 goals in 35 top-flight outings and helping the Swans win the League Cup.

The goals may have dried up during an injury-hit second season but he still earned a dream loan move to Italy with Napoli. It’s proven to be something of a nightmare for Michu though, with the Spaniard playing a grand total of five times without scoring a goal.

 

Nigel De Jong - AC Milan

A popular figure with Manchester City fans throughout his time at the Etihad, De Jong nevertheless decided to swap the Premier League for Serie A and the chance to play for multiple Champions League winners AC Milan.

Though the Dutchman has remained as consistent as ever, injuries have hampered his impact while Milan have lurched from crisis to crisis on the pitch with the 30-year-old yet to win anything in the way of silverware while turning out for the Rossoneri.

Ashley Cole – AS Roma

Arguably the most high profile English addition to Serie A since the days of Paul Gascoigne and Paul Ince, Roma boss Rudi Garcia was commended for the capture of Ashley Cole on a free last summer with the ex-Arsenal and Chelsea man bringing a wealth of experience to the Giallorossi ranks.

But it soon became apparent that Cole was not the player he once was, while pictures also suggested the 34-year-old was struggling to integrate with Roma’s cosmopolitan squad. The left-back has so far played just 10 times in Serie A and could be on the move come the summer.

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