“I always wanted Inter,” Candreva told the club website, his smile still visible through his now ‘Pirlo-esque’ beard. He then went on to say the usual things expected of him, that he was happy, proud and wanted to please the fans. Those Nerazzurri faithful will no doubt also be pleased, as this signing seems not just like a solid statement on the pitch but also hinted at the way the club may move forward from now on. Roberto Mancini has his man, and it seems that this may be the first chink of light in what has been a bleak summer.
The fact that Candreva had met the Press on his arrival looking smart, sophisticated and perhaps three years younger than his 29 years, was reminiscent of Andrea Pirlo when he joined Juventus. Pirlo did this two years later in his life but his experience and game developed into one of the most successful periods of his career. Candreva, although a different type of player, does have some of the same attributes that could see him become an integral part of this Inter squad for years to come. He is the perfect compromise between the Suning Investment group (who want to sign for longevity) and for Mancini (who wants to win now).
The €22m (plus bonuses) fee is certainly worth it for a player who has over 300 appearances and 150 of these for Lazio. He has continued to develop into an adaptable player and whilst confessing that his preferred position is on the wing, he can slot in anywhere in the midfield. He has a superb range of passing and he is a dead-ball specialist with an eye for goal. He scored 10 times in Serie A last season and is capable of finding the net with his head, from distance as well as cutting inside into the box.
The tranfer itself is one that Mancini has been chasing all summer and the fact that the club have now signed off on Candreva, arguably means the ‘Mister’, The President and the Suning Group have now come to some agreement which reportedly hung on the Coach bringing in his own men to the squad. This perhaps also answers the Mauro Icardi debate, as only yesterday after countless rebuffing of improved Napoli offers, the Argentine striker wrote an open love letter to the Inter fans on social media. Despite Wanda Nara (his wife and agent) still trying to push for a new contract, the pieces of the puzzle do seem to suggest that there is a calm after the storm.
The Argentine striker certainly would benefit from the crossing ability Candreva would supply and with Ivan Perisic on the other wing (a man who also has vastly improved) the two could take the pressure off Icardi as being the soul supplier of goals. In fact Candreva, the player whose nickname was once ‘Il Timido’ (The shy one) is far from it in recent years and he has hit double figures in the last three campaigns, despite Lazio having mixed results.
Inter can now look forward with some optimism (at least in the short term) as the mercato seems to be taking shape. The speculation about players coming both in and out of the club has perhaps hampered their US Tour somewhat and abject displays against PSG, Bayern Munich and a draw against Estudiantes also did not leave much room for hope.
Whilst Candreva himself will not be the answer on his own, he could go a long way to being this on the pitch and in the dressing room, and his signing also proves that Inter can still hold some clout in this transfer window. The player described the move as bringing a ‘very strong emotion’ to him and it will to the fans. That emotion will be one of relief and perhaps even bring some belief in a project that many thought could be falling by the wayside.