Daichi Kamada to Crystal Palace: The Athletic 500 transfer ratings

Crystal Palace have completed the signing of Daichi Kamada on a free transfer from Lazio.

Our writers — who are experts in transfers, tactics, data and football finances — have come together to rate this summer’s senior Premier League transfers against five categories, each given a score out of 100, to reach a total out of 500. Hence, The Athletic 500. The ratings are explained here.

Below is our rating for this move.

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Tactical fit — 69/100

A look at how the player fits into his new club tactically using Sentient Sports’ bespoke tactical fit model, explained by our tactical expert.

Kamada’s familiarity with Oliver Glasner’s system from their time at Eintracht Frankfurt will help him greatly. Glasner’s midfield setup often involves having four central midfielders — two holding and two attacking — which creates more options in the centre and reduces space between players. This focus on playing through the middle, and Kamada’s ability to find and exploit pockets of space, fits well into this.

He can receive progressive passes (4.25 per 90, 85th percentile) and play in one or two touches, which makes him suited for the attacking midfielder role.

His ability to draw defenders will be beneficial in Glasner’s system. Alongside his close control and press resistance, this will create space for his team-mates, both when he is in possession and off the ball. He can progress the ball through the thirds, receive the ball on the half-turn, and then play forward.

An example came in this match against Cagliari in February. Kamada positions his body as if he were going to pass the ball sideways into midfield. However, he cleverly plays a through ball to Valentin Castellanos, creating a goalscoring opportunity.

Daichi Kamada GIF

We can see below that Kamada excels at disrupting opponent moves, scoring a perfect 99 in this metric.

He is also highly effective at ball recoveries and interceptions, scoring 84. His ball retention and link-up play are excellent, which is important for controlling the game’s tempo. Additionally, he can receive the ball in dangerous attacking positions.

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However, there are areas Kamada might need to develop. The physicality of the Premier League is a challenge, and he will need an adjustment period. Also, to be more influential in games, increasing his passes into the penalty area (currently 0.42 per 90) will be necessary.

Kamada’s transition to the Premier League could be challenging due to the league’s physicality and speed of the game. He needs to work on getting his body across more often to shield the ball. Nonetheless, his familiarity with Glasner’s system should make the integration period easier.

Gillian Kasirye

Season rating: 64/100

Rating the player across last season, using statistics from The Athletic’s data team.

After an eye-catching few years in the Bundesliga, Kamada struggled to replicate his best form in his sole season at Lazio.

The Japan international midfielder made 38 appearances in all competitions, including seven in the Champions League, scoring two goals and assisting two more. While he was an ever-present in the first-team squad, he was in and out of the line-up under former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri and later Igor Tudor, starting from the bench in 21 of Lazio’s 38 Serie A matches.

A lack of game time at Lazio saw Kamada fail to be selected for Japan’s March internationals, having been a fixture in Hajime Moriyasu’s plans since making his debut in 2019. However, he played in World Cup qualifying wins against Myanmar and Syria last month.

Elias Burke

Gaming rating: 71/100

Rating the player according to Football Manager 2024’s data across both current and potential ability.

According to Football Manager, Kamada is a player Crystal Palace can immediately rely on as a starter or impact substitute.

Kamada has a current ability rating on FM24 of 140, which ranks him among Palace’s best players in his position. Will Hughes, against whom Kamada will be competing for minutes in central and attacking midfield areas, has a rating of 130, while Eberechi Eze is slightly ahead on 148.

There is room for Kamada to grow, too. Sports Interactive’s extensive scouting network rates his potential ability at 150, which compares favourably with Eze as well as other Premier League midfield creators such as Emiliano Buendia (143) and Emile Smith Rowe (148).

Elias Burke

Financial value rating: 59/100

A four-category summary of the player’s transfer in financial terms — and whether it makes sense for his new club.

Market value — 18/25

Full international, experience in elite European leagues and versatility, Kamada ticks plenty of boxes as a free transfer. A difficult season in Serie A with Lazio leaves him with much to prove but the hope will be that a reunion with Glasner, with whom he worked in Germany, can justify the deal.

Squad cost — 18/25

Palace’s summer budget will be shaped by the eventual futures of their greatest assets but it is improbable they will repeat January and end another window as the biggest spenders. They will be frugal and the arrival of Kamada, a player trusted by Glasner, for nothing leaves plenty in reserve.

Contract sensibility — 15/25

A two-year deal for a player who will be 28 when the new season starts illustrates Palace’s reluctance to make long-term commitments for a player yet to feature in the Premier League. Kamada’s wage will likely have been inflated as a free agent, though.

Resale value — 8/25

Kamada’s last two moves have come as a free agent and, given his two-year contract with Palace, there is unlikely to ever come a day where big money is made on the forward. It was not a motivating factor in his signing, though.

Philip Buckingham

Risk or reward? 77/100

Is there a history of injury or other problems that could crop up in the future and make this deal a bad one in retrospect? Or does the player come with a clean bill of health? Our expert takes a look.

This is a deal that makes sense on many levels.

First, it reunites Glasner with one of his standout performers during his successful stint at Frankfurt. Kamada started all but one game under Glasner in their Europa League-winning campaign of 2021-22, scoring five goals, including the winner in the semi-final first-leg away win at West Ham United.

From a financial perspective, he joins as a free agent, allowing Palace to continue their market activity. He also brings top-level depth and experience to a side that struggled with injuries last season, as well as adaptability, having played as a defensive midfielder, a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder, a left-winger and even a second striker in his career.

There are minor concerns over his lack of Premier League experience, but his familiarity with Glasner’s style will make the transition more straightforward. He’s also impressively durable, having only missed 13 games through injury or illness since joining Frankfurt in 2017. While he is not the superstar replacement for Michael Olise, he is a sensible addition to a squad with aspirations of competing on four fronts next season.

Elias Burke

Overall rating: 340/500

(Top photo: Marco Rosi – SS Lazio/Getty Images; design by Eamonn Dalton)

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