The new Lampard – how Chelsea and Tuchel stole Inter’s best talent

Chelsea’s strong transfer summer continues. The Blues are poised to push past the €200m mark in new signings, with Inter Milan’s Cesare Casadei their latest target believed to be close.

Chelsea will pay around 15 million euros for the Nerazzurri talent, and in the coming days Casadei will arrive in London to sign a four-year contract with the Stamford Bridge club.

Cassaday was born in Ravenna in northern Italy in January 2003. At the time, Marcello Lippi’s Juventus ruled the Calcio as Christian Vieri poured in goal after goal in the black and blue shirt.

The youngster began kicking for local side Cervia, then moved to Cesena’s academy before being invited to Inter’s in 2018, aged 15. Since then he has also been part of Italy’s youth squads, representing every age group from the under-16 team to the under-19 team he is currently competing for.

Gradually, Casadei began to make an impression outside of Italy. In 2020, he was included in the Guardian’s Global Talent Rankings after scoring ten goals in 15 games in 2019/20 for the Nerazzurri U17s. Since then, the youngster has not stopped scoring, although he is far from the striker position.

He also scored on his debut for the U19 team against Sampdoria in January 2020, as well as on his debut in the youth Champions League against Rennes.

Often referred to as the best talent in Inter’s academy, Casadei scored 14 goals and provided four assists in 30 appearances for Christian Kivu’s Primavera side last season and was named the league’s best player.

His performance has even led some Italian journalists to question why he has not yet been called up by Simone Inzaghi to the first team. This played its role and Cassaday sat on the Nerazzurri bench for one game, but did not get on the field.

“Cesare Casadei has won many admirers because he scored a number of goals (17) and because he combines technique with a good physique (he is 186 cm tall) – wrote journalist Maurizio Pistocci in July. – The real question, however, is why Inzaghi never used him, even for five minutes, even in games against Palermo, Torino or Sassuolo, and Chelsea are ready to invest in him?”

About a month ago, Gianluca Di Marzio announced that Thomas Tuchel was “bewitched” by the qualities of Casaday, who will become another young talent attracted to “Stamford Bridge” with an idea for the future at the beginning of the era of the new owner – Todd Boelli. at the head of the club.

Photo: Getty Images

Along with the Italian, Chelsea have already signed 2003 recruit Carney Chukwuemeka and Omari Hutchinson, and 2004 recruit Gabriel Slonina.

Despite the many goals he scores, Cassaday’s position on the pitch is quite far from that of a center forward. The Italian works as a modern box-to-box midfielder who covers the entire perimeter of the pitch between the two penalty areas, having an affinity for the goal as well.

Nicky Bandini in the Guardian’s Global Talent Rankings wrote of him: “Combinative and fearless midfielder, his physique gives him an edge even when playing a level above his age group. And he still has time to grow over 1.90m.”

It is because of his affinity for the goal and the ability to cover a huge perimeter that Cassaday has already been compared to Frank Lampard – one of the greatest legends of Stamford Bridge. On the domestic stage, his qualities are reminiscent of those of Nicolo Barella and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic due to his explosiveness and powerful forays into the foreign penalty area.

To put it in Italian – Casadei is a modern mezzala – a never-stopping “eight” who can return to the edge of his penalty area to stop opposition attacks, and at the same time be ready not only to start a quick counter, but also to finish it.

Cassaday himself admits he likes Milinkovic-Savic’s style, having also learned from players like Barella and Marcelo Brozovic. He cites Inter legend Javier Zanetti as his idol because of his “strength and charisma, but also because of his ability to play in any position”.

In Italy, good words about him are not spared. Not only the journalists who doubt Inzaghi’s decision not to include him in the first team earlier, which could have raised his price, but also from the Nerazzurri’s executive director – Beppe Marotta.

“For now, he is still a young talent and he has a serious way to go until he becomes a great footballer, but we are very proud of him – Marotta says of the midfielder.

He is training with the first team and showing a pretty good level. At the moment I can’t say anything negative about him, he is above average for his age, and after that it all depends on him.

It depends on him how he will develop not only his technical qualities, but also his personal qualities, which are often even more important in football.”

Whatever Cesare Cassaday has to develop, it looks like he’ll be doing it at Chelsea, not Inter. And how far it will develop, we will follow.


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