Despite this, Ashley Cole managed to secure himself a move to Roma and even saw his stock rise after it became abundantly clear he should have been on that plane to Brazil.
Now after nearly half a season at Roma, Cole is finding life more difficult than he might have imagined and according to the press today, he could well be on his way back to England come the January transfer window, with Manchester United and Louis van Gaal keen on securing his services.
United are in need of a top class defender, of that there is no doubt, but with Luke Shaw on their books, why would they try and lure Cole to the club?
He might provide some much needed experience in a back four that lost the likes of Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic in the summer and their ability to defend with it judging by some of their displays this season, but Cole’s star has not exactly been bright since his departure from Chelsea.
He is no spring chicken, but there were very few people who expected him to be taken to the cleaners by Arjen Robben in the first half of Roma’s thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich – and it was sad to watch.
In a display that was reminiscent of the Gareth Bale / Maicon mismatch, Robben seemed to show that Cole was at the very least, finished as a very top player.
Of course, one bad game cannot wipe out all the good work Cole has previously done for both club and country, and you can fully understand why Van Gaal would consider bringing a cut price Cole to Old Trafford.
He knows the Premier League and is hankering for a return back to England – with current manager Rudi Garcia already searching for another left back to bring in this winter and replace Cole with.
This is the very same Cole who professed that more English players should follow his example and leave the country to experience other leagues, but looking at some of those players (yes Woodgate, we mean you) it is easy to see why the majority of footballers would prefer the haven of the Premier League.
Cole may understand the language of football but it is highly doubtful he has mastered the language of Italian – and the infamous team photo showed just how hard it has been for him to settle in at the club.
Footballers are a sensitive breed of people at the end of the day and most need love to perform well and Cole has certainly found that wanting in Serie A. The issue for Van Gaal would of course be if United did bring Cole back to England and he received a barrage of abuse from his own fans.
Football fans are a fickle breed of people and a couple of decent performances would surely see United fans singing Cole’s name – links with Chelsea and Arsenal aside. The fact that Rio Ferdinand has now left the club can only help further, with the relationship between Cole and the centre back now non-existent – so really there are no genuine obstacles to prevent Cole from making the switch.
Roma don’t want him there, he doesn’t want to be there, Van Gaal needs a cheap left back with experience who isn’t terrified of Victor Moses. Step up to the podium Mr Cole.
Manchester United fans. Do you want Cole at the club? Is he now past his best? Let us know your thoughts below or tweet us @LaFootyettes.