Ragnar Klavan attempts an Italian Job
Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan has completed a deal to join Cagliari Calcio S.p.A. from Liverpool FC. With the fee agreed only at £2million the Italian club believe they have captured a bargain. But is it the right move for the former FC Augsburg centre-back?
Klavan has played in many different leagues throughout his career. The Estonian Meistriliiga, Norwegian Valerenga, Deutsch Eredivisie, German Bundesliga and finally, the Premier League. A player who has performed in multiple leagues within Europe has an extensive experience he can take to Cagliari. Especially playing recently at a club with such calibre like Liverpool.
At 32, Klavan should still somewhat be at his best. Although lacking in pace, he does possess major defensive qualities. He can pass very well, while always maintaining concentration, but sometimes lacks when it comes to aerial duels. He likes to play short passes and doesn't like to dive into tackles, being a firm believer in staying on your feet. Cagliari boss Rolando Maran will have brought him in to add some depth into the squad.
I Rossoblu (The Red and Blues) finished 16th last season and aim to better that this time around. The most notable name within the squad would be Darijo Srna. The Croat made the move this summer from Ukranian side Shakhtar Donetsk after playing through 15 seasons with the perennial winners. In that time, he won the league title 10 times. But now he will be welcoming the newest addition in Italy as Klavan's arrival gives Cagliari a solid base at the back.
During his time with Liverpool, Klavan was average. According to whoscored.com, last season's rating was 6.81 with the previous season at 6.68. Last year, he scored his only goal at the club, maintaining a pass percentage of nearly 91%. But those stats are most likely to change as the style of football in Italy is not quite the same as in England. Cagliari are also not considered a top side like their English counterparts, he'll probably see possession far less often than he has gotten used to.
Gli Isolani (The Islanders) recently lost 2-0 in their opening Serie A fixture. The defeat away at Empoli was a sign that changes may have to be made. Srna and Klavan did not compete due to the time they joined the club, so they still have to be thrown into the mix. Sassuolo visit Cagliari this weekend. Three points are badly needed. This is the perfect time for the fans to see their two new superstars in action.
The centre-backs that featured against Empoli were Filippo Romagna, Luca Ceppitelli and Fabio Pisacane. All these three defenders may be looking over their shoulders as Klavan arrives and may take their spot. Honestly, I don't think it'll be long before the ex-Liverpool man forces his way in, as he's a marked upgrade.
Klavan must know he is joining a club that may struggle this season. But the Estonian may also be thinking he will get game time which he wasn't fully succeeding in at Liverpool. It's a tough decision, the move will benefit his career personally, but major honours may never come his way.
Would the centre-back be good enough to lead a defensive line in Serie A or will he just fade away not showing his abilities? Serie A isn't an easy league and if he does become a regular at Cagliari, he better stick November 4th in his diary as he may be up against some footballer known as Cristiano Ronaldo...