Superb on loan at Crotone last term with four goals and two assists in 35 appearances, Cataldi helped fire the Squali into a promotion play-off place in Serie B.
Crotone eventually lost out to Bari in the preliminary round, but parent club Lazio had seen his value through the spell in Calabria and saw fit to bring him home in the summer.
Uncertainty reigned at the Stadio Olimpico as Stefano Pioli took over, yet what appeared clear was that the new boss was keen to integrate Cataldi into his squad.
A loan offer from Empoli was reportedly thwarted in order to facilitate Pioli’s wishes, but a pair of injuries early in the season would keep the young midfielder on ice.
Cataldi was at last fully fit by January and made his Serie A debut in a nine-minute cameo against Napoli – and he wouldn’t look back from there.
Having started six of Lazio’s last 11 games, Cataldi has become a key player in the Biancocelesti’s late-season push that has seen them pass rivals Roma into second place.
A central midfielder with a taste for tackles and a keen eye for creating chances, the young midfielder has seen off challenges from more experienced teammates for game time.
Calciomercato reported on Wednesday that both Arsenal and West Ham have been tracking Cataldi all the while by dispatching scouts to Italy to evaluate him live.
Lazio, however, aren’t taking any chances with a youngster they believe is bound for a bright future, and are taking steps to make sure that future is forged in the Eternal City.
Still on a youth contract at Formello, Cataldi reportedly earns in the region of €200,000 per season at present, with his current terms running until 2017.
According to Calciomercato, Lazio president Claudio Lotito and director of sport Igli Tare have already come to an agreement in principle to give the 20-year-old a bumper pay rise.
Cataldi’s new contract will reportedly see him handed a new wage packet at €500,000 per annum, tying him to Lazio until 2020 – though it won’t be signed immediately.
Everything is said to be in place, but the deal will go unsigned until Cataldi has returned from representing the Azzurrini from the Under-21 Euros in the Czech Republic in June.
Arsenal and West Ham’s interest in the burgeoning midfielder has in turn seemingly been put off for the time being, with Cataldi given an extra incentive to remain loyal to the club of his youth.
Have something to tell us about this article?