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Chelsea’s £16m signing gives Mauricio Pochettino summer selection decision after impressive U20 World Cup



(Photo by JUAN MABROMATA/AFP via Getty Images)

Cesare Casadei is having an U20 World Cup campaign to remember after helping Italy into Sunday’s final with the opening goal in their 2-1 win over South Korea.

The 20-year-old has been a standout for the young Azzurri side in Argentina, captaining his side from midfield, scoring seven goals and registering two assists from their six matches, which sees him as the tournament’s leading goalscorer.

Casadei and Italy will now face Uruguay in Sunday’s final, one win away from clinching triumph on the world stage.

His performances for country will offer Casadei hope that he can return to Chelsea this summer, following his loan spell at Championship side Reading in 2022-23, and try to stake a claim to convince newly-appointed head coach Mauricio Pochettino that he is worthy of a chance.

Casadei signed a six-year contract at Stamford Bridge last summer after arriving from Inter Milan in a deal worth £12 million plus £4 million in add-ons.

Chelsea’s investment in young and emerging talent extends beyond the midfielder, with Andrey Santos, Carney Chukwuemeka and Gabriel Slonina all acquired, as well as the 2025 addition of Kendry Paez who has also impressed at the U20 World Cup.

Casadei has already caught the eye of Azzurri national team boss Roberto Mancini, who admitted: “Cesare Casadei is really good. He had already impressed me during a stage at Coverciano.

“He went to England and played in the Championship, a tough and formative league, almost like the Premier League. If it wasn’t for the U20 World Cup, he would be playing in the U21 already.”

Casadei is making headlines for all of the right reasons and he will fancy his chances back at Cobham next month to try to force his way into Pochettino’s selection thinking. A good headache for the new Blues head coach.