Taye Taiwo has endured a torrid time in Italy since his summer move to AC Milan. Now Arsenal are circling, hoping to capture - and rescue - one of the best left-backs around.
Taye Taiwo had expected to be heading to Portugal or the Premier League in the summer but a call from Silvio Berlusconi no less had the left-back on the first flight out of Marseille to Milan.
Who would not feel special if the owner of the Italian champions took time from his busy schedule of running the country into the ground, hosting pool parties and avoiding court appearances to tell you personally that he wanted you to join his club?
Unfortunately those sweet words turned out to be sweet nothings or maybe they weren’t conversing in French but double Dutch because the Nigeria international has admitted that he hasn’t got a clue what coach Massimiliano Allegri wants from him – or what he is saying for that matter, grappling as he is with the language.
Brought in to add a bit of competition for the aging legs of Gianluca Zambrotta and the more sprightly but inconsistent Luca Antonini, Taiwo has been left to stare into the middle distance or what is officially termed studying the game from the bench.
As with all things in Italy you are expected to adapt and not the other way round; so diving into tackles, galloping up the wing and leaving a gaping hole in defensive is not going to win you many starts in the team.
Plus there is little call for long-throw specialists or those who are going to shot whenever they get within 40 metres opposition goal as John Arne Riise found out at AS Roma. In short, you are as redundant as a tea pot in an Italian cafe.
His style is what it is and the English game is tailor-made for his robust enthusiasm.
Taiwo does have some pretty impressive attributes such as his imposing build and aforementioned ability to propel the ball forward at a bewildering speed but unfortunately they are of little use in the more technically and tactically adroit Italian league.
Allegri has demanded he watch DVDs of not only Milan in action but the rest of Serie A – and then when he picks him it is for a meaningless Champions League tie when qualification had already been secured.
That was against Viktoria Plezen and even then he was subbed off in the closing stages so Zambrotta, who at 34 is probably good for another five years, could get a run out ahead of a domestic game.
You can understand Taiwo’s frustrations what with the transfer window about to the open and the African Cup of Nations coming up at the end of January which if he were to remain a Milan player would leave him with room full of DVDs to catch up on when he returned.
There is probably growing unease that Allegri will forget who he is completely and maybe it is time, at 26, to accept that his style is what it is and the English game is tailor-made for his robust enthusiasm.
The plea has already gone out via an interview with L’Equipe – there is little point talking to the Italian press who don’t rate him anyway and besides ‘ciao’ seems to be the height of his mastering of the language so far.
However, it doesn’t take much in the way of linguistic skills to fathom that all it would take would be a phone call and the troubled Taiwo would be on the next flight to London, Tyneside or whatever airport in England is near to a club seeking a hearty left-back with little or no desire to watch anymore television.
Click here for more Football and Sport stories
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Twitter
Click here to follow Sabotage Times on Facebook