Chelsea’s summer transfer window, the first under the ownership of Todd Boehly & Co, was a rather haphazard mishmash of confused activity and spending, but our scattergun approach did include the pursuits of several highly promising teenagers, underlining the idea that the new people in charge were (are) in it for the long haul.
One of those teenagers was 19-year-old Cesare Casadei, who arrived for the not insignificant sum of €15m (plus €5m in potential add-ons) from Inter Milan, and has since featured regularly for our U21 teams, scoring a goal in three of his first four PL2 games, even. He’s been spotted in first-team training as well, though his work permit status in the post-Brexit reality is not quite clear at the moment. He has featured in EFL Trophy matches for the U21s, which sometimes count as official senior matches.
In any case, with the youngster still adjusting to life in a brand new country, it’s probably okay to take things a bit slower anyway. And he tells Gazzetta dello Sport, he’s enjoying his time at club so far, and all the challenges that entails.
“When the offer arrived and I had the opportunity to have this new experience, I honestly took it with open arms. It wasn’t an easy choice to make and it wasn’t easy not even at the beginning because I didn’t know the language well and I’m still learning it, but I felt like doing it to get out of my comfort zone: for the moment I’m having fun and it’s a super positive experience.
“I grew up humanly, because I had to begin to get by on my own. [...] I live 20 minutes from [Cobham] and I study English 3-4 times a week with a teacher, I’ve improved in this too compared to the beginning but I have to learn it well, beyond football, because it is a language that today we need to know.”
Casadei’s essentially off to university, the university of life, football, and Chelsea. And so far, he’s smashing it.
Meanwhile, on the pitch, things are also going well, with the tall midfielder’s physicality standing out as much as his skills or his eye for a pass. His all-around game jives well with his versatility, reminding at times of one Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
“There is more intensity here, the game speed is higher. Like training: you work much less dry and almost everything with the ball, starting with the warm-up.”
“I look at those in my position and here there are many from whom I can learn, now I say Loftus-Cheek, for his physicality in which in a certain sense I see myself, obviously knowing that there’s a lot to work on. [...] I like to play in many positions, I don’t have a precise one and even now at Chelsea they are employing me in various positions in midfield [but] I make myself available where I can serve.”
-Cesare Casadei; source: Gazzetta dello Sport via Google Translate
Those are all some good, mature, promising words from the young man. Hopefully we’ll hear from him plenty, especially on the pitch, in the future.