Chelsea have been linked with Lazio midfielder Antonio Candreva in recent transfer windows. The Italian international has excelled in Rome and it’s little surprise he attracted interest from ambitious clubs such as Chelsea.
Candreva was born in Rome and as a youngster played in the youth teams at his local club AS Lodigiani. He plays as a winger (either flanks) or a central attacking midfielder.
In 2003 as a 16-year-old, he transferred to Italian third division side Ternana Calcio and started to break into the team, making a handful of appearances before winning promotion to Serie B.
However, Ternana were relegated back to the third division but Candreva continued to play regularly and soon began to attract the interests of many Serie A clubs, finally agreeing to join Udinese in 2007 after four years at Ternana.
He found appearances hard to come by in Serie A and spent the majority of his time playing for the under-20 side, but did make his debut for the first team in January 2008.
Antonio spent several seasons out on loan. He had two successful seasons at Livorno, where he achieved promotion into Serie A. By this stage, he was starting to make himself noticed.
Juventus came calling and paid Udinese €500,000 to secure him on loan for half a season.
He failed to impress in Turin, but you must bare in mind Juve were struggling during that period, finishing 7th in the league. Juventus decided not to sign him on a permanent basis.
Disappointing loan spells at Parma and Cesena followed before a switch to Lazio in January 2012 where he has since flourished and become one of his side’s best performers ever since.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Candreva is a creative player and comes with the bonus of being versatile. Last campaign he registered 8 assists and an impressive 10 goals – helping Lazio to a Champions League position and a Coppa Italia final.
Although being played mostly on the right hand side of midfield, he is capable of playing anywhere across the midfield, making him useful as cover. This allows the coach to play various formations.
I find the most effect position for Candreva is in a 4-2-3-1.
He is always getting into good crossing positions – which is effective when you’ve got a lethal finisher such as Miroslav Klose to provide for.
Not only is he a good crosser of the ball, he is a dribbling threat. The 28-year old likes to cut inside and is unafraid to mix his attacking game.
However, as his nickname ‘Il Timido’ suggests, Candreva is not the strongest of players and will not throw himself into tackles nor challenge for the ball particularly effectively.
Furthermore, his low defensive contribution means he may leave his side exposed – a side of his game that he must improve on.
What could he have offered Chelsea?
The link to Chelsea developed this summer because Antonio voiced his frustration when the club decided not to give him captaincy – instead, they gave it to Argentine midfielder Lucas Biglia. This put many clubs on alert, not just Chelsea.
Candreva could be a useful addition at Stamford Bridge, as he has all the attributes of the ideal winger. He is a creator who can run at defenders and also chips in with several goals. His return in Serie A proves that.
There are some players at Chelsea whose work rate is questioned by the media. That wouldn’t be the case with Antonio, he never stops.
Many English fans would have realised this during Italy’s 2-1 win against England in Brazil last summer.
Personally, I’m glad he remained at Lazio. With the likes of Felipe Anderson, Lucas Biglia and young Serbian Milinković-Savić, they remain competitive.
Written by Serie A Writer
Follow Serie A Writer on Twitter @SerieAWriter
Read more of Serie A Writer’s articles at www.voicingcalcio.com
Like O-Posts on Facebook
You can follow O-Posts on Twitter @OPosts