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Serie A and Serie B loanee reports

As the season winds down and our thoughts turn to next year, let's see who's earned a crack at the Viola first team.

Grainy photos and bright futures: the Gianluca Mancini story.
Grainy photos and bright futures: the Gianluca Mancini story.

Serie A

Gilberto (Hellas Verona): The 23 year old Brazilian wingback has been benched ever since his outburst demanding more playing time. Despite some earlier theories that he might spend another year with the Gialloblu to ease some transfer activity the other way, it now sounds like he'll return to Fiorentina in June, although Bari have sounded out the Viola for another loan move next season.

Ante Rebić (Hellas Verona): The 22 year old Croatian attacker didn't make the matchday squad for Sunday's surprising 2-1 win over Juventus. He did get 24 minutes off the bench in last week's 1-0 loss to Sassuolo. He's also set for a return to Florence this June; given that he fell out of Gigi Delneri's favor and didn't score a goal or an assist, it's safe to call this move a failure for him. Hard to say what comes next for him.

Serie B

Maxwell Acosty (Latina): The 24 year old Ghanaian attacker made a 23 minute cameo in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Crotone, which was his first action in a month he spent injured on the sidelines. Despite a slightly chaotic campaign which has seen the team drop into the relegation places (and pick up just 2 points from 5 matches while Acosty was hurt), the winger's had a heck of a year, leading his temporary team in goals and assists. As a pacey and direct wide option, he could find a role in a Paulo Sousa-type system next year.

Jaime Báez (Livorno): The 21 year old Uruguayan forward picked up a knock and has been out the past couple of weeks. Overall, he's looked promising. He's a busy, enterprising sort of player blessed with pace, technique, a low center of gravity, and a knack for popping up in dangerous spots. The end product isn't there yet, but he looks like he could be a future star.

Ricardo Bagadur (Salernitana): The 20 year old Croatian centerback was benched for this week's scoreless draw against Modena. Last week, he was center stage in the 2-2 draw at Ascoli. He had a difficult day against Daniele Cacia, getting badly outpaced for the opener and looking shaky on several other occasions, but made up for his earlier mistake by brilliantly heading home a stoppage time equalizer to lift the Granata out of the automatic relegation places and into the playoff.

He's not a finished product by any means, but he looks like he could wind up being a really excellent penalty box defender and set piece weapon. Another year or two on loan are likely, but he could wind up as a long-term Fiorentina starter. Equally encouraging, though, is that he's got his head on straight, recently opining that he's happy with his career trajectory and trusts the Viola brass to do right by him.

Filippo Bandinelli (Latina): The 21 year old winger played all 90 minutes of the Crotone match in central midfield. Last week, he performed the same function in the scoreless draw against Spezia. It's nice to see that, as Latina's season slides down the tubes, manager Carmine Gautieri is trying his youngsters out in a last-ditch attempt to avoid relegation. It's especially nice for Bandinelli, who'll end what's been a frustrating season on a high note and hopefully carry some momentum into another loan move next year.

Joshua Brillante (Como): The 23 year old Australian midfielder hasn't made it off the bench in 2 weeks. It's been a rather discouraging season; he began his career with the Lariani as an unquestioned starter, but played his way into an occasional substitute's role. Given his (lack of) progress, this may have been his last season in Italy as he considers a return to the Antipodes.

Leonardo Capezzi (Crotone): The 21 year old midfield boss' inexplicable fall from grace continues, as he's dropped to the bench for the past 2 weeks. After looking like a real star in the making for most of the season, he's really fallen off a cliff, dropping into more of a bit role. Pitagorici DS Giuseppe Ursino has nonetheless been effusive in his praise for the youngster, but the U20 international's future remains a bit hazier than we'd like after what began as an unbelievably promising season.

Nicolò Fazzi (Crotone): The 21 year old attacker got the start at right wingback in the draw with Latina, picking up a yellow card in 55 minutes before getting the hook. It's yet another positional switch for the U21 international, who's seen time as a winger and a central midfielder this year as well. Manager Ivan Jurić has promised to get him more playing time, which should help the youngster on for next season. He's still got heaps of talent, but needs a chance to put it all together for a year with regular and assured minutes. Fazzi himself has gone on the record as saying that he wants to stick with the Squali for the inaugural Serie A season next year, which demonstrates admirable ambition; it'll be up to Fiorentina to decide if it's worth risking another year of limited action and stunted growth.

Cedric Gondo (Ternana): The 19 year old Ivorian forward hasn't set foot on the pitch in a month. Mostly relegated to substitute appearances this season, it's been an invaluable experience for him to fight for a spot with a professional team. Given how prolific he was with the Primavera, getting him onto a team that'll feature him at striker, rather than out on the wing has to be a top priority. He's still probably a year or two away from really making an impression, but has plenty of time to come good.

Gianluca Mancini (Perugia): The 20 year old centerback played the entirety of Saturday's 1-1 draw at Livorno. It was his second straight start, as he helped keep a clean sheet in last week's scoreless draw with Bari. After a rocky start, he's fought his way back into the lineup and is starting to look pretty darn solid. He's another who'll need a few more years of seasoning, but looks like he could become a steady and dependable defender.

Amidu Salifu (Brescia): The 23 year old Ghanaian midfielder played 79 minutes Monday's 2-1 loss at Spezia, picking up a booking in the process. It's hard to believe that he's still just 23, as he's been around forever. This year's been sort of a wet fart for him, as he tore up his knee and missed most of it, but, fully recovered now, he's starting to show some promise again. Next season is probably a make-or-break one for him; a good showing could see him recover a spot with Fiorentina, and a bad one will probably result in either a cut-rate sale or another several years in loan limbo.

Andrés Schetino (Livorno): The 21 year old Uruguayan midfielder remains affixed to the bench. This was always going to be an adjustment year for him as he acclimated to a new language and league and country. Showing anything this year would just be gravy, but the inability to earn a role doesn't necessarily say anything bad about him; next year is going to be the one we'll actually get a look at him.

Lorenzo Venuti (Brescia): The 21 year old fullback went all 90 minutes in the loss at Spezia, and did the same in last week's 0-1 reversal against Vicenza. He continues to impress. putting in tireless displays up and down the wing and earning himself a U20 call up in the process. With rightback a position of need for Fiorentina, there's an outside chance he could stick with the senior side next year, but another loan is the more likely outcome. Still, he's shown good progress and has been a reliable performer all year.

Luca Zanon (Virtus Entella): The 19 year old leftback hasn't been selected for the matchday squad in nearly a month. Fortunately, this nightmare season is nearly over for him. He's still got the goods, but really needs a team next year where he can display them in full, rather than languishing on the bench due to circumstances beyond his control.