Chelsea are set to sign young Inter midfielder Cesare Casadei in a deal that not many people will have predicted at the start of the window.
The 19-year-old has never actually played a senior game for the Nerazzurri but despite that lack of experience, the Premier League side are prepared to spend a potential €20 million on him.
It is clear that what he has shown in the Primavera is enough to make new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly roll the dice.
The initial fee is set to be €15m and then there is a possible set of add-ons which would equate to another €5m.
He is set to undergo his medical on Thursday having flown from Milan to London on Wednesday night. It is expected that the move will be confirmed before the end of the week.
Who is Cesare Casadei?
Casadei was born in Ravenna and was part of the youth setup at AC Cesena. He then joined Inter’s academy in July 2018.
He has risen through the age groups and shown throughout that he is a seriously talented young player.
He had a superb season in 2021/22 as a midfielder in Christian Chivu’s Primavera side who ended up winning the Scudetto, overcoming AS Roma in the final.
He played 30 games in the Primavera 1 last season and his output for a midfielder was truly impressive. He netted 14 goals and got four assists in that division. In the two finale phase games, he got one goal.
He also made seven UEFA Youth League appearances where he got two goals and one assist.
Despite showing this form throughout, he never got any minutes from Simone Inzaghi. He was named on the bench for the 2-0 home defeat against Sassuolo in February but did not come on.
He made 28 of his appearances last season in a conventional central midfield role but he did play six games in a move advanced role behind the striker. He also popped up on the left in one, a position he scored from.
In terms of style, he scores an abnormal amount of headers. Over half of his goals last season came from his head. Standing at 1.86 metres (6ft 1″), his height is not his defining feature but he’s certainly above average.
The ability to arrive late into the box and bring an aerial threat, whilst also being technically gifted with the ball at his feet, means comparisons with Lazio’s Sergej Milinkovic-Savic are not unfounded.
He also scored a number of penalties last season and also scored a fantastic free-kick from distance.
It is not clear if Chelsea intend to loan the Italian out or if he will play a role in the first team straight away, but he certainly has the physical build of a player that could adapt to the Premier League quicker than others.
Why are Inter selling Cesare Casadei?
As is so commonly the case with Inter in recent seasons, it largely comes down to money. They are trying to make a €60m profit in the transfer window and whilst this deal does not secure that, it takes them around halfway there having made other minor sales.
It’s not a decision that the Nerazzurri have taken lightly as for a long time they tried to make Casadei part of the deal with Torino for Gleison Bremer, but they were insisting on a buy-back clause.
Had he chosen to go to any other linked club such as OGC Nice or Sassuolo, Inter would have taken a lower fee but had a buy-back clause.
Chelsea acted fast though, so Inter have accepted the bigger fee and lost all control over a player who could be a star. Only time will tell if they have made the right call or not.
Casadei is also perhaps a victim of circumstance at Inter. Whilst showing his best form in the Primavera side, Inter had a water-tight midfield three of Marcelo Brozovic, Nicolo Barella and Hakan Calhanoglu.
Whilst there was that drop in form in the winter, clearly Inzaghi didn’t feel it was severe enough to warrant disturbing Chivu’s set-up in what was panning out to be a very successful campaign.
When at the airport, Casadei was spoken to briefly by Sky Sport Italia. He was asked if he is excited and he said: “Yes, very much so.
“I’m very much ready to start,” Casadei added. “I’m always ready.”