Italian talent scout Alessandro Pizzoli reveals Chelsea ‘turned down’ Cesare Casadei for €180,000 only to then pay €20m, while he rejected Newcastle United for their reliance on statistics.

The 53-year-old is currently the head of scouting at SPAL, but worked for Chelsea as part of their network from 2019 to 2022.

He spoke at the Palermo Football Conference this afternoon and revealed Italy Under-21 international Casadei could’ve come to Stamford Bridge a lot sooner – and a lot cheaper.

“I proposed Casadei when I first arrived at Chelsea, he was playing at Under-17 level and cost €180,000. He was not considered good enough and turned down, but then when he cost €20m, that’s when they bought him… That’s how it works there, they have a different mentality,” said Pizzoli.

Chelsea did eventually shell out €15m plus bonuses to Inter for Casadei in the summer of 2022 and he is now breaking his way into the main squad following loan experiences at Reading and Leicester City.

Pizzoli also reveals he was approached by Newcastle United to join their scouting network, but turned them down because he disagreed with their fundamental philosophy of finding talent.

“At Chelsea, I found a philosophy that was similar to ours, all about going to watch the players. They look at statistics there, but not exclusively those. I was contacted by Newcastle, but they told me that they’d look at the data and tell me which players to go and see. I’ve been in this profession for 30 years, I know how to choose players.

“Besides, there is also a context to it, tactical issues that need to be addressed. There is no guarantee that a player who does well in Italy can also flourish in England, or vice versa.”

Pizzoli explains he had also tried to sign Sandro Tonali for Palermo, but that when he impressed for Brescia against the Sicilians, the door was slammed shut on that transfer.

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