Transfers we love this summer so far - Part 3
Five EFL transfers better than Barbenheimer.
Millions of people waiting in anticipation to catch a glimpse. Billions spent over a summer of excitement. Yes, I could be talking about Barbenheimer, but let’s have it right, this is the EFL Newsletter by NTT20. We don’t review films. We’re not interested in the hot pink glamour of so-called big signings. What we care about are the smartest, most exciting transfers across the 72, and here we have a nice mixture of ages, profiles and provenance.
Cesare Casadei - Leicester City (on loan from Chelsea)
Leicester under Enzo Maresca have been fun to watch. His unwavering dedication to a 3-2-5 attacking shape has thrown up some quality football, as well as plenty of shaky moments at the back. There’s little doubt that if Maresca can get a settled, motivated squad playing in roles that suit them, the ceiling of the team is very high at Championship level.
But they’re not settled, yet. And there have been some square pegs in round holes, not least in the right-sided #8 role. On the flip side, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (#22) has been thriving in the same role on the left. He’s taken 12 shots already, and his brace on Opening Weekend against Coventry won them that game. Ndidi (#25) and Praet (#26) have shared the minutes on the other side, and taken 5 shots between them.
Those minutes, and those shots, will now be taken up by Chelsea loanee Cesare Casadei, a player that won the Golden Ball - and Golden Boot - at the Under 20 World Cup this summer, after scoring seven goals in seven games. A list of former winners of the Golden Ball at that tournament includes the following: Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Paul Pogba, Lee Kang-in… and Hull City’s Adama Traoré! Good company.
Casadei is a player that Chelsea (who are perhaps the elite team most proactively searching out ‘wonderkids’) signed from Inter last summer for £12.6m plus £4.2m in potential add-ons… before he had even played a senior game.
His loan at Reading doesn’t leap off the page, but The Royals were a team on the slide by the time he joined in January and only got worse. He only won 1 game in 13 starts, but the fact that Paul “The Guvnor” Ince liked him enough to start the last 10 games of the season is a good reflection on his character, and Reading fans appreciated his quality.
Our friends atknow him better than us, and their write-up after the U20 World Cup is well worth a read, both for his limitations and his strengths.
Unlike teenage me playing Football Manager, I’m not blinded by the narrative of a ‘wonderkid’ in the Championship. What excites me here is the tactical fit for both parties. Here is a big, box-to-box #8 that can handle the ball, that can press, and is a goal threat. That sounds like the perfect profile for the #8 role in Maresca’s Leicester.
Given his U20 World Cup accolades, Casadei could confidently call himself one of the best players of his age group in world football, and I can’t wait for his reintroduction to life in the EFL.
Josh Bowler - Cardiff (on loan from Nottingham Forest)
Cardiff have certainly been ambitious with their recruitment this summer, but it took me a while to buy into it with the same excitement as the fanbase.
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