Why West Ham & Everton Should Make A Move For Inter Reject Luc Castaignos
Luc Castaignos arrived in Italy with something of the reputation as the new Thierry Henry and it looks he is set to leave in the manner of the former Juventus striker – a meteor who shone all too briefly.
Henry went on to prove the Old Lady that she had been too hasty in discarding what is then such a raw talent and Inter may end up ruing the decision to allow this young Dutch fledging to move on.
Castaignos arrived at the Nerazzurri last summer with an encouraging identikit of pace, directness and an eye for goal, having scored 15 times in the Eredivisie for Feyernoord – and with most of Europe tracking him, 1.5million euros for the then 18-year-old looked excellent business.
What followed was a familiar story of a young prospect cast adrift in a struggling outfit: six Serie A appearances and one goal summed up a season of woeful neglect compounded by the fact that the club went through three coaches – with each one falling back on the veterans of Jose Mourinho’s Treble campaign rather than looking to future prospects.
Inter’s belated strategy is now to offload the old guard – and cash in on what on their reputations – with Douglas Maicon for example set for a 10m euro plus move, but it is one thing clearing out those who have been on gargantuan salaries and whose best years are behind them, but letting a 19-year-old who has had a season to bed into the world of Italian football, even if it has been on the fringes, seems rather shortsighted.
Certainly, anyone who saw him in action first for the Inter youth side, where he was a race-horse in terms of pace compared to the opposition and then all-too-fleetingly at first-team level will understand that he can only get better – he is already a much-more mature player than another Inter starlet Samuele Longo who everyone has been raving about and happens to be a year older.
He's better through the middle with the ball at his feet where he can make anything seem possible
Standing over 6ft, with a stride to match his 200-metre runner’s build, Castaignos was always going to be hemmed in by Inter’s overly-cautious approach, first under Gian Piero Gasperini, who only lasted five games, and then Claudio Ranieri.
He is no out-and-out winger and even if he was, the Italian game is not the place to blossom – Milos Krasic and Eljero Elia being two recent examples of under-employed wide-men – but works better through the middle with the ball at his feet where he can make anything seem possible and is particularly dangerous when playing quick one-twos.
It was under Ranieri where he scored his only goal of the campaign, darting into the area to latch on to a Thiago Motta pass but it was a rare sighting as the youngster dropped back to the youth side and when former youth coach Andrea Stramaccioni took over at the end of March there was no chance of making any impact as grounding out results became the one and only priority.
His future definitely lies in the centre either as a second-striker or the main target man – and no doubt being part of a failing side will have toughened him up mentally.
West Ham and Everton have been strongly linked with a move while Liverpool, Swansea, his former club Feyenoord, and PSV Eindhoven have also been interested with his services. Yett it is FC Twente who looked closest to securing his signature after Castaignos' agent declared he was moving back to Netherlands. With the move now appearing to have stalled, however, West Ham and Everton should act while Castaignos is still available.
However, they may well come to regret the decision such as Juventus once did when they failed to take a chance on another young attacker.
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