Roma’s decision to sign former Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole on a free transfer could prove to be a masterstroke from the Italian giants.
The 33-year-old, who fell down the pecking order under Jose Mourinho last term, has signed a two year deal with last year’s runners up as they look to wrestle the Serie A title from the grip of Juventus next season.
They enjoyed a fine 2013-2014, amassing a huge 85 points, but given the financial might and muscle of Juventus it was not enough to land them a first Scudetto since 2001.
Cole may have enjoyed his best days over in London with both Arsenal and Chelsea, but still remains a solid defender and imperious footballer capable of keeping the greatest players in the world nullified.
His decision to move from the comfort zone of the Premier League to the rigour of Serie A shows that, in spite of his age, his motivation to succeed remains intact.
The Englishman could have followed his former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard to the sunny shores of the MLS, but seems determined to play at the highest level rather than turn any thoughts to retirement just yet.
His experience of attaining trophies – including three Premier League crowns and seven FA Cup triumphs – will be key with Roma’s squad relatively thin of serial winners when compared with their Turin rivals.
Many still believe Chelsea to be foolish relinquishing a player of his calibre, especially given the fact they have spent big to land Atletico Madrid’s Felipe Luis, but the simple fact is Cole is too good to be playing second fiddle.
Fellow Italian superpower AC Milan had been keen on his services, as had Luis Enrique’s Barcelona, but the lure of playing at the Stadio Olympico proved one too difficult to refuse.
Maicon was enticed from Manchester City last summer and despite starting Brazil’s 7-1 thrashing by Germany at the World Cup was able to recapture some of the form that once made him the planet’s best right-back.
Cole will hope to fare similarly, with his age cited by many as the key factor in Mourinho’s decision not to award him a new one year deal at Stamford Bridge.
The financial aspects of the deal also suit his new club, with the defender taking a huge pay-cut to remain at the elite level and a name that could reap plenty of money in shirt sales around the globe.
His age suggests that he may not make a lasting impression, but his CV suggests that Roma are gaining a gladiator fit for the Coliseum itself.