Who is Luca Caldirola?
The question on many Huddersfield Town fans lips this week is who exactly is Luca Caldirola?
Like many of David Wagner’s signings, the Italian central defender would arrive in England as an unknown quantity having never played in England before which is a similar path to many of Town’s signings over the past 12 months.
Born in the small town of Desio on the outer fringes of the city of Milan, Luca Caldirola began his career as a footballer by plying his trade for numerous sides in the Lombardy region before joining Inter Milan.
Initially, Luca Caldirola began his career as a goalkeeper. However, after joining Inter Milan, Luca Caldirola found his more definitive role as a centre-half.
After emerging from Inter Milan’s academy, Luca Caldirola established himself as a bright future star for club and country. Despite still being in the very earliest stages of his career, Caldirola’s leadership qualities shone through as he captained both Inter Milan’s Under 20 side and also Italy’s Under 21 side, it was expected that Luca Caldirola would be the next in the production line of no-nonsense Italian central defenders.
However, having struggled to break through at Inter Milan, Caldirola instead spent a number of spells out on loan at Eredivisie side Vitesse and Italian side Brescia before permanently joining Cesena. After impressing for the Emilia-Romagna side, Luca Caldirola moved across the border to join German side Werder Bremen.
Despite making over forty appearances for Die Werderaner, the Italian central defender was sent on loan to newly promoted Bundesliga side Darmstadt. Although many predicted that Darmstadt would be relegated, Luca Caldirola played a significant role at the heart of the defence as Darmstadt defied the odds and retained their Bundesliga status.
The absence of Luca Caldirola this season has been telling as Darmstadt look destined for relegation, very little of that poor form can be attributed to Caldirola who has suffered this season from a severe ankle injury which has limited him to only 5 Bundesliga appearances.
With Luca Caldirola’s contract set to expire in the summer, the 26-year-old centre half has begun to attract attention from several clubs including English sides: Stoke City, Newcastle United and Huddersfield Town.
The Expert’s View
After asking the head of Vavel Bundesliga Jonathan Walsh his thoughts on Luca Caldirola, he succinctly and concisely summarised what Huddersfield Town would be getting:
Caldirola would be an excellent signing for Town. Not only does he have experience at the highest level in Germany, but also in a relegation fight.
While it might be too soon to be presumptuous about getting into the Premier League and where Town will finish, someone who has been there and done it will be invaluable.
Caldirola is solid all around but particularly strong with his tackling. He’s also decent with the ball at his feet which will suit Huddersfield’s style of play and his versatility can only be a plus.
Injuries have hampered his progress, though if available on a free transfer it’s a chance that I wouldn’t pass up on.
Caldirola was one of Darmstadt’s best players and was pivotal in keeping them up. A committed individual and one who will always give 100%, he could be a great starter or back-up for Town.
Should Town sign him?
Considering that the calibre of Town’s opposition for Caldirola’s signature are two Premier League sides (one that is currently in a de facto state), it is clear that Caldirola would be a major coup if David Wagner could persuade the Italian defender to join Town.
There are many reasons why Luca Caldirola would be an astute signing for Huddersfield Town. Simply from a footballing perspective, with experience in the top flight of both Italy and Germany and the Champions League with Inter Milan, Luca Caldirola would further add quality, experience and know how to Town’s ever improving defence.
Another attractive feature of Luca Caldirola’s game is his versatility. With his ability to play both as an orthodox central defender or as a left-back, David Wagner may see Luca Caldirola as the perfect player to provide cover for the left hand side of the defence.
The signing of Caldirola could also enable David Wagner to implement the 3-4-1-2 system that he has experimented with in recent weeks. It appears that David Wagner isn’t confident that he has three central defenders capable of playing the system at this moment in time, however, the arrival of Caldirola as a ball-playing centre half could make Town more tactically flexible.
As well as versatility and experience, Luca Caldirola would also bring character and leadership to the side. Over the course of his career, Caldirola has shown that he has had the leadership credentials to captain a side from an early age. The move would make sense in that, in that he would join the company of Michael Hefele, Christopher Schindler and Chris Löwe who have also previously captained sides before joining Huddersfield Town.
At the age of 26, Luca Caldirola is coming into his prime and his current contractual situation which will see him leave Werder Bremen for nothing in the summer makes him an enticing prospect for David Wagner and Huddersfield Town.
The only major concern that Huddersfield Town may have about Luca Caldirola is the severe ligament damage which has seen him sidelined this season, however, if Caldirola can recover from the injury unscathed, there is no doubt that he would be yet another astute signing for the West Yorkshire club.
In terms of competition for the signature, Caldirola’s wages could be an issue as Newcastle United and Stoke City will be able to offer Caldirola much higher wages, however, the lure of David Wagner and the guarantee of regular first team football could be enough to persuade Caldirola to join the Huddersfield Town project.