Chennaiyin FC snap up midfield veteran Andrea Orlandi

Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2017-18 champions, Chennaiyin FC have bolstered their attacking ranks with the signing of midfielder Andrea Orlandi. The 34-year-old Italian signs a one-year deal with the club after plying his trade with Italian Serie B club Novara last season.

The Spanish-born Italian began his professional career with Spanish side Alaves before making the switch to Barcelona, where he featured regularly for the Barcelona B side. Orlandi then featured for Welsh team Swansea City AFC for a period of five years and would go on to team-up with fellow Chennaiyin teammate Inigo Calderon at Brighton and Hove Albion from 2012 to 2014.

In an official press release from Chennaiyin, the Italian spoke of Calderon’s influence which convinced him to join the South-Indian side. “I am really excited to come to India and play for the champions. I am close friends with Calde (Calderon) and as a result, I did watch quite a bit of Chennaiyin last season. What Calde said about the bond in the dressing room and the positive atmosphere surrounding the entire club helped me make the decision to move. I’ve also had a good chat with John (Gregory) and I am looking forward to giving my 100% in helping the team retain the ISL title.”

Head coach John Gregory was delighted with the new signing, who will bring a new attacking impetus to the side. “In Andrea (Orlandi), we have a top-class professional with not just tremendous work ethic but also a vibrant personality. I know him very well from his playing career in England. An addition like him gives our squad more depth and creativity as we look to defend the title.”

After Rene Mihelic’s departure from the club, Orlandi will serve as a more than useful replacement to the side. Chennaiyin’s new no.10 can slot in at the middle of the park or play out wide in the wings. His threat from dead ball situations will serve as a much-needed advantage to the side as they seek to defend their title when the new season gets underway.

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