Milan vice president and CEO Adriano Galliani will meet with the agent of Italian midfielder Antonio Candreva regarding a move that would bring Candreva to the San Siro, according to Italian newspaper Il Tempo (h/t Football-Italia).
The 26-year-old Italian international spent last season with Lazio, scoring five goals and contributing six assists in 35 matches for the Rome-based club. Statistics website WhoScored.com keeps track of the positions players are fielded in throughout the season and Candreva played numerous roles for the Bianocelesti, including central midfielder, attacking midfielder and, most commonly, right midfielder.
Candreva played a prominent role under coach Cesare Prandelli in Italy's recent Confederations Cup campaign, starting in matches against Brazil, Spain and Uruguay. Prandelli used him as a right attacking midfielder against Brazil in a 4-2-3-1, behind lone striker Alberto Gilardino against Spain in a 3-4-2-1 and as a left-sided central midfielder in a 4-3-3 against Uruguay.
As one can see, Candreva possesses a good deal of versatility, able to be slotted in numerous positions on the field. Should he join the Rossoneri, he would be deployed in the center of the pitch, most likely on the right side.
He's an adept crosser and would provide some solid width to the Milan attack, not completely placing the onus of attacking the flanks on right-back Ignazio Abate. Abate loves to get forward and may find himself needing to curtail his attacking forays somewhat, as Candreva tends to struggle on the defensive side of the ball.
Candreva has a very powerful shot and isn't afraid to have a go: He averaged 3 shots per game last season, according to WhoScored.com. He's a good dribbler and is able to keep possession quite well, but he will need to improve his passing.
He completed just 78.7 percent of his passes and that number would rank below that of all of Milan's midfielders, via WhoScored.com. For a team that was tied for first in possession with Juventus, keeping the ball is of paramount importance and Candreva could stand to improve that aspect of his game.
He's valued at €10 million, per Transfermarkt, and considering the Milan brass' comments regarding transfers this summer, a player would need to leave the San Siro before a move for Candreva could materialize.
Santos have stopped their pursuit of Robinho, via Football-Italia, meaning that Galliani will have to find another suitor for the former Manchester City man. Even if they were to sell Robinho, it's believed that they'll reinvest the money into a move for Fiorentina second-striker Adem Ljajic.
This means that another player would need to be sold if Candreva were to join Milan, and that player would likely have to be Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Selling the Ghanaian international would raise enough money for Milan to make a suitable offer for the Italian international, but considering there are no new developments regarding Boateng, it looks as though the dynamic midfielder will begin the season with the Rossoneri.
For this reason, a move for Candreva would seem unlikely if Milan's comments regarding selling before buying are to be believed. He was quite impressive for Lazio last season, as well as with Italy earlier this summer, and would be a positive addition.
However, unless Milan are able to drum up the necessary funds, this seems to be another player that Milan will be priced out of moving for.
In other news, Sky Sports (article in Italian) is reporting that Japanese international Keisuke Honda will join Milan in January on a free transfer.
Honda's contract is set to expire at the end of December, per Transfermarkt. Instead of signing him for a cut-price, Galliani has opted to wait until January when Honda is available on a Bosman, after he refused to raise the bid to meet CSKA Moscow's valuation.
Milan's change to a 4-3-1-2 makes a move for a new trequartista necessary. And since Honda will be on his way in the January transfer window, it looks like Italian U-21 international Riccardo Saponara will be given the chances behind Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy.
Honda has a great deal of quality: He has the ability to make a defense-splitting pass, is a crafty dribbler who's composed on the ball and is a dangerous left-footed set-piece practitioner. Couple his technical qualities with Milan opening a new fanbase in Japan following the signing of arguably their best player, and the move is a great one.
Milan are a universal club and opening the Asian market is a huge opportunity that will come with substantial revenue in shirt sales alone.
The decision to sign Honda in January is a curious one, though. Should Saponara be started as the trequartista and play well in the early part of the season, bringing Honda in could hinder the progress of the promising youngster.
I'm a big fan of the Honda signing, I just wish he would be joining in the summer, as it would give coach Massimiliano Allegri the opportunity to allow Honda and Saponara to accrete and find their place in the squad from the get-go.
His arrival will provide a boost, hopefully in a similar manner to that which Milan received from the Balotelli signing. But Milan's perpetual frugality could lead to them indirectly impeding the development of Riccardo Saponara.
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