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Premier League outcasts thriving in Serie A

by Byron Adonis Mutingwende

SuperSport viewers on DStv have been witness to a great Serie A season thus far. One of the most interesting aspects of the campaign has been the way in which several players which were deemed to be surplus to requirements in the Premier League have revived their careers in Italy’s top flight through 2019-20.

Romelu Lukaku – Internazionale

After going under-appreciated at Manchester United and being unfairly made a scapegoat for the club’s troubles, Romelu Lukaku switched Old Trafford for the San Siro and made the move to Internazionale. He hit the ground running under manager Antonio Conte and a return of 17 goals is impressive for a Serie A rookie.

“I made my decision (to leave) around March (2019), and I went to the manager’s office and told him it was time for me to find something else,” Lukaku explained. “I wasn’t performing and I wasn’t playing. I think it was better for both sides to go separate ways. I think I made the right decision.”

Chris Smalling – Roma

With Manchester United signed Harry Maguire for a world record fee from Leicester City at the start of the campaign, someone in their long list of centre-back options had to be moved on. That man was Chris Smalling, who was sent on loan to Roma. Yet the defender, now fondly referred to as ‘Smaldini’, has been one of the best players in his position in Serie A this season and Roma are hopeful of making his deal into a permanent one at the Stadio Olimpico.

Ashley Young – Internazionale

Another player to leave Manchester United for Serie A this season is Ashley Young, who signed for Internazionale in the January 2020 window. The emergence of Brandon Williams and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for the Red Devils meant Young was going to spend more and more time on the bench despite still being an influential figure at the club. His transfer to the Nerazzurri has already proven a successful one, with the 34-year-old veteran slotting seamlessly into Conte’s style of play.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – Roma

A disappointing spell for Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Arsenal ended at the start of this season when the Armenian signed on loan for Roma. Though he has had his struggles with injury this season, a return of six goals and three assists from 13 Serie A appearances suggests that he is adapting well to life at the Giallorossi.

“I prefer [manager Paulo] Fonseca’s football because we’re playing very offensively, we’re trying to have the ball all the time here and of course I like this kind of game,” said Mkhitaryan of playing for Roma.

Aaron Ramsey – Juventus

After 11 years’ service at Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey decided to take on a new challenge and agreed a high-paying move to Juventus. The Welshman scored on his Serie A debut, though in truth he has struggled with some injury issues and been unable to quite establish himself as he would like. Nonetheless, there is promise that Ramsey will become a key man for the Bianconeri under Maurizio Sarri.

Until live sport resumes, SuperSport has converted its line-up to thematic channels for the foreseeable future. Fans of football can tune into SuperSport 3 to ‘Relive the Premier League’, while SuperSport 7 features ‘Relive the Best Football’, with a mix of the Premier League, UEFA Champions LeagueLa LigaSerie A and FIFA Documentaries.

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