Daichi Kamada is not being given a chance.
“The Italian media have favored Lazio midfielder Daichi Kamada over rivals who have struggled in cup competitions,” British outlet Goal.com reported on Sept. 26 (local time).
Lazio lost 0-3 to Inter Milan in the 2023/24 Coppa Italia Super Cup at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, Italy, on Oct. 20. Daichi Kamada remained on the bench for the match, his third consecutive game without a start.
Lazio are in good form in Serie A with four straight wins, but not Daichi Kamada. Lazio won 1-0 at Lecce in round 20 on Jan. 14 and are currently in Champions League contention in sixth place in the league.
Due to an injury to Luis Alberto, Kamada started two games during the winning streak. However, in one of those games, the Bianconeri came from behind to win, and in the Udinese game, he was substituted at halftime after picking up a yellow card, with Vecino scoring the winning goal in the second half.
Kamada was Japan’s rising ace. In 2020/21, he led the league in assists with 13, and in 2021/22, he led his team to their second UEL (UEFA Europa League) title.
The momentum was not lost. Last season, he broke out in the first half for Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Bundesliga and was ranked first among attacking midfielders by the German publication Kicker Langliste. But things changed after the World Cup. He had one of the worst performances at the World Cup and finished the season with no real impact in the second half.
When Kamada became a free agent this summer, he was inundated with offers. Fellow Bundesliga clubs Dortmund and Leverkusen were the primary suitors, while Benfica and AC Milan were secondary.
The transfer seemed to happen in quick succession. European transfer expert Fabrizio Romano tweeted: ‘AC Milan have completed the signing of Daichi Kamada. The contract is for five years, with only a medical remaining.” The deal seemed to be finalized, but Italy’s non-EU status ultimately prevented it from happening.
He eventually moved to traditional Italian giants Lazio and seemed to set the tone early on, starting in the starting lineup. He also started against Genoa in the second round, but failed to make an impact and the team suffered a second straight defeat.
In the seventh minute of the third leg against SSC Napoli, with the score tied at 1-1, he scored his first goal in Serie A and SS Lazio, finishing with his left foot from a Luis Alberto through ball on the counterattack. The goal seemed to put him in the driver’s seat, but the momentum was short-lived.
He started against Juventus in the fourth round and assisted Luis Alberto’s late equalizer in the 18th minute, but was otherwise ineffective. In subsequent games, he has been one of the worst performers of the tournament, starting more and more games from the bench.
His lack of defensive involvement was seen as a major factor in upsetting the balance of the midfield and he eventually started to play as Guendouzi’s backup. His first season in Italy has been an increasingly unsuccessful one, with just one goal and one assist in 15 league games.
He has said in interviews that he would like to get more playing time, but the reality is that he has no place in the team. It’s not like Sarri hasn’t given him plenty of chances, so there’s no excuse for him.
Kamada has missed the last three official matches and was left out of Japan’s squad for the Asian Cup. Ahead of Lazio’s big match against Napoli this weekend, Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport analyzed the situation of Daichi Kamada’s club Lazio.
The Italian media didn’t even mention Daichi Kamada’s name in their midfield predictions. “There are uncertainties in the midfield,” they preface, predicting a start for Danilo Cataldi in the anchor position, but pointing out that “Guido Guendouzi and Luis Alberto will play on either side of him”. “I think Vecino will be a threat in one of those two positions,” he concluded.
Sky Sports, Mediaset, and Gazzetta dello Sport are also all predicting a bench start for Daichi Kamada for now.