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Todd Boehly's £12.6m Chelsea investment that Enzo Maresca could be about to reap the rewards of

Cesare Casadei will be hoping to play a big part at Chelsea under Enzo Maresca
-Credit: (Image: Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images)


The appointment of Enzo Maresca as Chelsea boss may well play into Cesare Casadei's hands going into the 2024/25 season. Following Mauricio Pochettino's exit from Stamford Bridge two days after guiding the Blues to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League, Monday afternoon finally saw Maresca confirmed as his replacement on a five-year contract, with the club having the option to extend his deal by a further year.

Coming to attention last campaign after steering Leicester City to the Championship title immediately after taking on the hotseat, Casadei is one player who knows all about the Italian. After all, the 21-year-old played his part for the Foxes in the first few months of the 2023/24 season.

Maresca wanted the highly-rated midfielder to feature in his plans at the King Power Stadium as he looked to guide the Foxes back to the Premier League at the first time of asking. After signing on the dotted line last August, Casadei opened up on the pivotal role his fellow countryman played in swapping Chelsea for Leicester.

“I spoke with him a few times on the phone and I felt that he has a big energy and that’s a really good thing. I really love that and obviously he’s Italian so we can build a good relationship between us," he told Leicester's official website. “He was a big impact in my decision to be here and I can’t wait to start improving with him and start playing.

"Of course, I saw the last two games in the Championship and I had a really good impression because they played really good football and they enjoyed their football when they had the ball. I’m really excited to play for this team because I like this kind of play and obviously they won both games and that’s what we need to do for the rest of the season, just keep winning game after game.”

In his first press conference since clinching the arrival of Casadei on loan, the head coach revealed that his new signing is "the kind of player who can give us something different" and that "you don’t need to tell him to arrive in the box because he’s always in the box". It was perhaps no surprise then that the Chelsea loanee was in the right place at the right time to net on his Leicester debut with a stoppage-time winner against Cardiff City.

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Having featured regularly in the starting XI during his short time on loan with Reading the previous campaign, the Italy Under-21 ace found himself in and out of the Leicester team in his time with the 2015/16 Premier League champions. Perhaps no surprise with players such as Harry Winks and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall to contend with in midfield, Casadei got a run of three successive starts at the beginning of January and contributed with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win away at Millwall in the third round of the FA Cup.

That proved to be his penultimate Leicester appearance as Chelsea sprung a major surprise by recalling him midway through January. It was something that stunned Maresca and Leicester at the time as they simply weren't expecting the player's parent club to require him back in west London.

Speaking after that 3-2 win at Millwall and Casadei's big contribution, Maresca made it clear that he and Leicester were "very happy" with the midfielder and that "he's going to help us in the next months". The pair would only have one more game together after those comments but they will now be reunited at Chelsea's Cobham training base at the beginning of July.

Casadei did make 11 appearances for Chelsea following his return from Leicester, all of which came late in games off the bench. His next target will be to build on those minutes and demonstrate to everyone in west London why he was one of the first signings of the Todd Boehly regime after joining on a six-year contract for an initial £12.6million in August 2022.

It is going to be incredibly tough for the Ravenna-born player to break into the Chelsea side on a permanent basis but the arrival of Maresca could well help him achieve his ultimate goal sooner rather than later. Blues fans have seen very little of Casadei to date but they could be about to see a lot more of him now that Maresca is in the Stamford Bridge hotseat.