Chelsea’s new Italian manager Antonio Conte has been linked with a number of players from his old stomping ground during his days as Juventus coach. One of his transfer targets, Antonio Candreva, has now opened the door to a possible move to Stamford Bridge and the Premier League.
The Lazio winger has been linked with a €25 million move to Chelsea this summer, amidst reported interest from Inter. His agent Federico Pastorello had recently stated that Candreva is on the look-out for a new challenge after spending four seasons at the Serie A club.
“He joined the Biancocelesti and even got insults from some fans,” Pastorello told Italian radio channel Tele Radio Stereo. [via: Goal]
“He won them all over, but now Antonio has realised it’s time for a new challenge. Fans shouldn’t be upset or angry, it’s part of the logic that brings clubs and players together, and then clubs take decisions to go their separate ways.”
His agent also added that “Antonio would also consider options abroad” after recognizing that the Premier League is the “top league” in Europe.
An Italian reunion at Stamford Bridge as winger turns central midfielder
At 29 years of age, Candreva is at the peak of his playing career. The Italian scored 12 goals and registered 5 assists for Lazio last season. The Rome born winger also shone for the national team this summer under Conte, before being waylaid by injury before the Azurri’s final group stage game against Ireland at Euro 2016.
Conte is familiar with the player, and would be considering him for one of two possible roles. The first would be as a wing-back in his favoured 3-5-2 system. The second and more probable possibility would be that Conte will line him up alongside new signing N’golo Kante in the heart of the midfield. The versatile midfielder has a high work rate, is physically strong and has the ability to pick passes. He is also adept at holding up the ball and doesn’t concede possession too easily, hence earning the nickname Il Timido.
If Conte doesn’t stick to the 3-5-2, which is being widely speculated about, then Candreva would most definitely be used as a midfielder rather than a winger. The likes of Eden Hazard, Willian, Juan Cuadrado, Kennedy, Pedro and Oscar will all be ahead in the pecking order for that position.