Serie A Players and Their Struggle in The Premier League

Matteo Darmian

Football transfer window generates a huge volume of business in financial terms, and a number of players change clubs every year. Obviously, talent and record of player at one club make the basis of interest by others.

There is always an element of risk when buying a player from a different club, regardless of the transfer fee, but this risk becomes even more when the transaction involves two different leagues as the player may or may perform as per the expectations.

We have many examples on record when successful players of one league when transferred to other failed to deliver. A keen look into statistics reveals that However, the number of players who made a switch from the Serie A to the EPL and subsequently underperformed is way higher than the average. Below is a pick of five players from the Serie A who underline this assertion along with reasons why Serie A players fail to adapt to the League:

5Pablo Osvaldo (2013-2015):

In his two seasons at Roma, Pablo Osvaldo scored 27 goals in 55 league appearances, which paved the way for a move to Southampton. However, his two seasons in England were riddled with confrontations, off the pitch altercations, and a return of 3 goals in 13 league games.

4Andriy Shevchenko (2006-2008):

“Shevy” became one of the most feared attackers in Europe during his time in AC Milan, and in 2006 Chelsea paid a huge sum of money to bring him to London. His 193 goals in 296 appearances for Milan shrunk to 22 goals in 76 appearances in what was a very miserable two years.

3Stevan Jovetic (2013-2015):

Stevan Jovetic was lighting up the Serie A in the colours of Fiorentina before Manchester City persuaded him to the Etihad Stadium. However, the Montenegro international failed to live up to the billing and his two years spell in England was riddled with lack of form and injuries. He 11 goals before being sold to Internazionale.

2Juan Cuadrado (2015-Date):

The electric Colombian winger was creating havoc on the wings for Fiorentina, combining lightning-quick acceleration with quick feet and the occasional goal. Chelsea bought him for a lot of money, but two years later had almost nothing to show for it. He went on loan to Juventus where he once again found form.

1Matteo Darmian (2015 till Date):

Matteo Darmian

Darmian was one of the fastest rising stars in Italy, putting up quality displays for Torino, seizing the right back spot in the National team, convincing Manchester United to fork out the cash. He started well enough but faded quickly, losing his place in the side to midfielder Antonio Valencia. The few times he did play, he was played out of position on the left. There are rumours that Jose Mourinho is ready to ship him out if he can find a willing suitor.

Below are the three primary reasons why Serie A players fail so often in the Premier League.


The average quality of players in the Serie A is below the average quality of players in England. It is much easier for good players to shine in Italy, where the standard is lower than it is to shine in England where there are a lot of higher quality players.


The Premier League places a lot of emphasis on wing play, with overlapping runs and hopeful crosses a regular occurrence. In Italy, it isn’t a coincidence that their most standout players recently are players who are regularly found in the centre as against the flanks.

The likes of De Rossi, Pirlo, Pogba are so highly heralded because they dominate the most congested part of the pitch in Italy. When defenders and midfielders move from Italy to England, they find the tactical shift a little harder to contain.


Regarding physical demands, the Premier League and the Serie A are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Non-stop end to end running is the way to England, while the Serie A is less mobile and more tactical, with more emphasis on space, and positioning. When players move from Italy to England, the sheer pace and intensity of the game, is more often than not, too much for them to handle.


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