Arsenal should lead transfer race for history-making midfielder

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Pavel Nedved, Juan Sebastian Veron, Hernanes, Roberto Di Matteo and a host of other legendary Lazio midfielders have tried, but none have ever managed to score 12 goals in an Italian league season.

That was until the current campaign, when Antonio Candreva’s penalty in the 2-0 success over Livorno was his 12th of a productive season, with the majority coming from an advanced position on the right of midfield.

Candreva only signed a contract extension at Lazio back in October, but that is unlikely to prevent interest in his signature this summer, especially if forcing his way into the Italian starting line-up at the World Cup.

The fact that Candreva is co-owned by Udinese is bound to cause prospective buyers a few difficulties, but that should not deter Arsenal from making a summer swoop.

Arsenal’s odds are 2/7 to beat Newcastle next and a victory would take them to the brink of finishing in the top four, which would be a boost to their chances of signing Candreva.

Not only is Candreva a goalscorer from the wide areas, he ranks in the top 10 in Serie A for the number of key passes he provides per game on average and the number of shots he has.

Furthermore, the 27-year-old is extremely versatile, as although he is most widely used from the right, he has featured from the left and centrally this term.

Meanwhile, he has played as a straight right midfielder and a forward in a front three, showing that he is adaptable between systems.

It is in the wide areas where Arsenal are especially short of options and it is arguable that they don’t have a true winger in their squad.

Both Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott are really forwards, looking to sneak between full-backs and central defenders to shoot at goal, rather than beat a player down the outside, get to the byline and supply crosses.

Candreva would provide Arsenal with another dimension and although there is also interest from Juventus, first-team opportunities may be in greater supply at the Emirates.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.