As reported by Calciomercato.com, Chelsea were heavily linked with Candreva during the summer, with reports indicating their interest was real. The former Lazio man―who had only moved to the Italian fashion capital the year before―ended up staying in Italy, however, and things haven't gone according to plan since.
Candreva has had a shaky start to the season, and plenty of fans and pundits alike have called for him to be benched. Blogger Ben Boucher even went a step further:
The 30-year-old has mainly been used as a right-winger and has recorded just a single assist in six Serie A fixtures. The Nerazzurri have enjoyed a solid start―they sit in third place―but Candreva has been the clear weak spot, with Ivan Perisic impressing on the other flank.
To make matters worse, summer signing Yann Karamoh impressed in limited minutes against Genoa, and the 19-year-old is expected to become a regular part of the rotation.
Fans already want him to play more and for Candreva to tumble down the pecking order:
It's been a steep drop for the versatile winger, who has played in a central role and as a full-back at various times in his career. Candreva has long been one of the unsung heroes of Italian football, and Blues manager Antonio Conte is reportedly a big fan, per Calciomercato.com.
He was excellent in Serie A last year, having a hand in 16 goals, and he has long been a steady contributor for his clubs and the national team.
He wouldn't be the first player who couldn't find his place in a team led by manager Luciano Spalletti, however. The 58-year-old swapped AS Roma for Inter this summer and immediately implemented his vision―which inevitably led to struggles for certain players, including Candreva.
All of this is good news for Chelsea, who could take advantage of Candreva's current struggles and his dropping value. As a veteran player with plenty of experience in a multitude of formations, he would be a typical option for Conte to chase.
The Italian values depth and versatility and has gladly brought in players from Italy, including Marcos Alonso and Davide Zappacosta. Both have so far been excellent fits, and Candreva has a similar profile.
The former Lazio man has been reluctant to leave Serie A, but he has never gone through a tough stretch like this before. If he drops down the pecking order between now and January and Karamoh establishes himself as the preferred option on the right, Candreva could well be available in a cut-price midseason deal.