Lazio winger Antonio Candreva is reportedly on Antonio Conte’s wishlist as he plans to implement in his philosophy at the Stamford Bridge.
- Conte is also plotting a move for highly-rated Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly valued at £19.5 million.
- Chelsea winger Pedro is unhappy with his role in the Spanish national team.
In the wake of a dismal Premier League season as the defending champions, Chelsea are certain to be busy customers in the summer transfer window. New boss Antonio Conte’s Italian influence will inevitably see him turn his eye to the Serie A in search of reinforcements. Two such players reportedly on his radar are Lazio winger Antonio Candreva and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.
Meanwhile, in other Chelsea related news, Pedro is unhappy by the treatment he has received at Euro 2016 under head-coach Vincente Del Bosque after playing only 10 minutes in the first two group matches.
Chelsea and Inter Milan are vying for the services of Antonio Candreva
According to the Daily Express, Lazio winger Antonio Candreva does not want to see out his contract and has expressed his desire to leave the side. The Daily Mirror has further gone on to suggest that Chelsea are on high alert given Conte’s association with the player, and will rival Inter Milan for signing the 29-year-old.
Candreva is a right-sided midfielder by trade but has no trouble playing as an inverted winger on the opposite flank or in a central role just off the number nine. At the Euros, he is being deployed as a right wing-back and has fared extremely well in that position. Given his healthy professional relationship with Conte, there is no surprise that the player has been linked to his new employers Chelsea.
The Lazio attacker enjoyed a promising 2015/16 season campaign, scoring ten goals and assisting thrice in his 30 league appearances. He is also known to be a free-kick specialist, giving Chelsea much-needed options from dead-ball situations.
However, Candreva’s arrival could be the beginning of the end for Willian’s Chelsea career. The Brazilian enjoyed one of his best seasons in a Chelsea shirt, but may be used as a backup option to the 29-year-old.
Kalidou Koulibaly eyed to provide defensive stability
A leaky Chelsea defence was often caught napping in the disastrous 2015/16 campaign. Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill looked terribly off the pace, while John Terry’s future did more talking than his performances on the field of play. Even January recruit Matt Miazga could not live up to his billing and remained rooted to the bench. Now with a new man leading the charge, we can expect an array of changes at the club.
Lazio’s highly-rated centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly has emerged as a transfer target for Chelsea. The Senegalese defender played a pivotal role in Lazio’s 8th placed finish, making 32 league appearances all season. He averaged 3.6 clearances and 2.6 tackles and interceptions per game at the heart of the Lazio defence. His tackling ability and vision has been second to none all season long.
Koulibaly is also a composed figure with the ball at his feet. Rarely known to throw away possession, the 24-year-old has a impressive pass accuracy rate of 85.1% (via WhoScored). His 6ft 4in frame sees him win most of the aerial challenges, and should he move to England, he would be one of the most feared defenders the Premier League has to offer.
Pedro publicly expressed his desire to leave the Spanish squad
Spain and Chelsea winger Pedro has said that a substitute role at the Euros is “not worth staying for”.
The 28-year-old came on for the final ten minutes in La Furia Roja’s 1-0 victory over the Czech Republic. In the second game, he was an unused substitute as he watched his side dismantle a hapless Turkish outfit.
This incident reportedly infuriated the former Barcelona player. According to FourFourTwo, Pedro stated, “I had other expectations when I arrived here. It is not what I wanted. To assume this role is difficult. If you don’t see continuity, coming here to stay with the group is no longer worth it.”
However, only a day later, as per beIN Sports, the Chelsea attacker apologized for his words that questioned his relevance in the Spanish setup.
“I apologise if I offended someone with my comments. I am delighted to be here with Spain. It is a dream to be at the Euros,” expressed Pedro.
“I have clarified things with my team-mates and they understood what I meant. I have spoken with Del Bosque and with my team-mates. They all understand me. I am very grateful to have their confidence.”