The latest news is that Chelsea’s interest in Daniele Rugani has ended and Chelsea are now focusing all their efforts on signing his new Juventus teammate Mattia Caldara.
There have been reports today in La Repubblica that Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia met Juve director Fabio Paratice in Nice to finalise the deal, but then with the amount of players Chelsea are currently being linked to this doesn’t necessarily mean it is happening.
Mattia Caldara is not a name known to many Chelsea fans for sure so we have decided to take a closer look at him to see if the proposed £40m transfer is money well spent.
Using Wyscout, we can see some key things about Mattia Caldara.
Caldara is 24 years old and stands 6ft 2, a good height for a mobile central defender. He has already featured in the Juventus team in the International Champions Cup.
Juventus paid Atalanta €28m for him back in the January transfer window of 2017 with Caldara being loaned back to Atalanta to further his development. Caldara was very much earmarked as a long-term replacement for Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Bazargli.
Serie A 2017-18
Using a Squawka performance table, we can see that Mattia Caldara was not in the top ten defenders in Serie A last season, the same fact we discovered when checking out Daniele Rugani yesterday.
Again, it is surprising that Chelsea are looking to pursue a defender that did not rank in the top ten especially given that several on that list are available at similar prices.
In fact, we have to dig even deeper on Wyscout to find Caldara ranked as their 25th best Serie A defender last season.
So why is he on Chelsea’s radar?
Using Squawka we can compare Mattia Caldara to two other Chelsea defenders; Andreas Christensen (a useful comparison as last season was his first in the Premier League following promising loan spells elsewhere to further his development) and Cesar Azpilicueta – an excellent benchmark for defensive excellence at Chelsea.
As you can see, Caldara ranks lowest in this list. We would have naturally expected Azpilicueta to finish top, with a defence score of 363.49 but for Caldara to finish below Christensen when Caldara is playing in a league he knows in a relatively decent team and Christensen is playing his first season in the English Premier League raises questions.
Christensen is clearly better in the air than Caldara in this example, though it could be argued that Caldara has the edge in the tackle – however, with Christensen playing in the middle of a back three last season, how often was he expected to tackle?
Clearly, Caldara has something otherwise a club that prides itself on a generation of quality defending would not have identified him as a replacement for one or two of their greats. But the stats are not backing this hunch up.
Looking at their tackles lost meaning they did not win the duel, Caldara lost 52 to Christensen’s 21. Turning that into a per 90 average, Caldara failed to win the ball nearly 3 times per 90 over the course of his season – Christensen a shade under once per 90.
As I mentioned above, Juventus must see something in Mattia Caldara for them to be fast-tracking him into their set-up this season. Equally, if Chelsea are seriously looking at him then we can only assume there is something there. The issue we have here is that there is nothing in the data that suggests it is a good move. Further analysis would be required to judge the context of what Caldara does do well – for example, if his performance spikes against bigger teams or better players, that is a good thing.
We don’t have the time to do further at this stage so we will leave you with our verdict on whether Chelsea should be signing Mattia Caldara.