Manchester United Transfer News: Antonio Candreva a Poor Target for Red Devils

Jason PettigroveContributor IApril 3, 2014

Antonio Candreva will not improve Manchester United's midfield.
Antonio Candreva will not improve Manchester United's midfield.Gregorio Borgia

Manchester United's David Moyes is apparently keeping tabs on Lazio attacking midfielder Antonio Candreva according to reports.

Per talkSPORT, the Red Devils as well as rivals Liverpool are looking to secure the player, whose rights are currently jointly owned by Lazio and Udinese.

Lazio themselves are also keen to purchase the "other half" of the players' ownership with Udinese potentially ready to sell for £5.8 million.

Italian rivals Juventus and Napoli make up the quintet of clubs interested in taking Candreva.

Paul White

At 27 years old and with such a queue of admirers forming, you would expect the player to be producing some of the best football of his career.

Eight goals and five assists in 30 Serie A appearances (one as sub) per, isn't disastrous. An 83 percent passing accuracy tells of someone who is relatively comfortable on the ball.

But it isn't the sort of stellar form that should see Moyes readily reaching into his pocket to spend the Manchester United pound.

If the Scot wants to improve the team and have them capable of challenging for honours then he has to be looking for world-class purchases.

Wayne Rooney has 15 goals and 10 assists already, per WhoScored, and although his passing accuracy is slightly below Candreva's at 80.2 percent, he makes more passes on average (45.1 to 34.4), and he is very obviously more of a goal threat than the Italian.

Wayne Rooney already forms part of a decent United attacking midfield. It's arguably other areas that need strengthening.
Wayne Rooney already forms part of a decent United attacking midfield. It's arguably other areas that need strengthening.Jon Super

Juan Mata is yet to settle in Manchester and that could be a concern to Moyes, but even a lack of goals from the Spaniard can possibly be overlooked this season due to a first-class 88 percent passing accuracy in an under-performing side, per WhoScored.

In another note of caution, local Italian media have targeted Candreva, who felt it necessary to explain a gesture made after scoring the winner in the last minute against Parma recently.

Per ItalianFootballDaily, he said:

My gesture was absolutely not directed towards the fans, with who I have a great relationship. I was upset at a newspaper article that portrayed me as a mercenary, which I am not. 

The fact that any newspapers in his homeland would portray him as such in the first place, must surely ring alarm bells with Moyes and his staff.

Candreva's gesture after scoring the winner against Parma was apparently directed at journalists who called him a mercenary.
Candreva's gesture after scoring the winner against Parma was apparently directed at journalists who called him a mercenary.Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Whilst money of course plays a significant part in any transfer nowadays, you sign players that want to play for your club first and foremost.

For example, rumours persist that Toni Kroos may be a summer purchase but there is no doubting his world-class pedigree and it appears he is considering the club, per David Lynch of the Manchester Evening News.

Candreva doesn't even seem to want to do that according to Lazio Style Radio 100.7, via Football Italia. He said of his current employers:

This is the only club at which I have ever been a true player. I have never felt like I belong at another club like I do here.

I have a great relationship with Edy Reja too, it’s impossible not to give everything you've got for him.

Given that fairly unequivocal statement and a set of performances across the season that have been acceptable but not outstanding, does it not make sense for Moyes to abandon the chase for the player?

The manager is already well covered in the attacking midfield areas if we look at Rooney, Mata and possibly Adnan Januzaj as the template.

Even Robin van Persie can drop back as a false nine if and when required. 

Candreva is unlikely to improve what Moyes already has available to him in any of the positions where the Italian plays. Therefore, the continued courting is a waste of time and resources.

The Scot should focus his energy on other areas of the squad. The centre of defence is an absolute priority given the loss of Nemanja Vidic to Inter Milan and the possible departures of Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra, per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail.

Time to look elsewhere, David.