Fulham yesterday confirmed the signing of Nigerian international full back Ola Aina on a season-long loan from Torino.
The 23 year-old defender, who came through Chelsea’s youth academy before moving to Italy, has been a longstanding Fulham target and the newly-promoted side have an agreed a loan deal with an option to make the switch permanent next summer. Aina told FulhamFCTV:
I feel very excited and privileged to be able to play for a club like this. It feels amazing to be back closer to my family, back in the capital where I was born and raised.
There’s a great bunch of lads here. I’m really good friends with Big Hec and Josh Onomah.
I feel very comfortable on either foot, I can fill in wherever needs be. I’d say I’m pretty quick and I like to attack, but I also like to help the team and do the dirty work as much as I can.
Aina, who can also play at left back, in central defence or in either wide midfield position, was part of Chelsea’s all-conquering under 18 and under 23 sides and made six first-team appearances as the Blues won the 2016/2017 league title. He spent a season on loan with Hull City, before moving to Torino, also initially on loan. He made 30 league appearances as Torino qualified for the Europa League and the Italian side opted to sign him permanently. Aina made 37 league appearances last term as Torino battled successfully against the drop.
Having represented England at youth level, Aina was offered the opportunity to play for Nigeria, the birthplace of his parents, and has now made fourteen senior international appearances. He missed on the 2018 World Cup squad narrowly, but was part of the Nigeria side that finished third at Africa Cup of Nations last year.
Fulham’s vice chairman and director of football operations, Tony Khan said:
I’m pleased to announce the arrival of Ola Aina to Fulham on loan from Torino. Ola is an exciting young player who can further strengthen our squad this season in the Premier League. In our loan agreement, we’ve secured an option for a permanent transfer for Ola to potentially remain at Fulham if this season proves to be a good fit for us, which is a great situation for the club given our belief in Ola’s talent and in his potential.