CB Ricardo Bagadur (Benevento): After impressing for the second half of the season with Salernitana, the 20-year-old Croatian returns to the southern half of the country. He’ll compete with veteran Emanuele Padella for a spot in central defense next to Fabio Lucioni. His main competition is former Viola prospect Michele Camporese. After sparkling in Serie B last year, he should do the same again for the recently-promoted Stregoni.
RB Gilberto (Latina): The 23-year-old Brazilian should get his wish for more playing time with the Serie B newcomers. As many might recall, he was unimpressive with Fiorentina last term, thenunable to nail down a starting berth at Hellas Verona after a January loan there, leading to a temper tantrum that saw him (justly) benched for the remainder of the season. After Corvino refused to allow him to return to Brazil, he’s ended up at Latina. He’ll have to beat out fellow loanees Constantin Nica and Gabriele Rolando, of Atalanta and Sampdoria respectively. On the plus side, he’ll have plenty of familiar faces with the Nerazzuri: former Viola players Marco Marchionni (who’s 36 and now a holding midfielder), Filippo Bandinelli, and Maxwell Acosty are also on the roster.
RB Lorenzo Venuti (Benevento): The 21-year-old U20 international just extended his contract for another years and seems to be one of the more promising players in the youth setup after a very impressive season at Brescia. Joining Ricardo Bagadur at Benevento, he should join the Croatian in forming a backline that’s 50% Viola; his only competition is Inter Milan loanee Bright Gyamfi.
DM Jacopo Petriccione (Ternana): This looks like a good landing spot for the 21 year old. The Ferri were just promoted to Serie B and lack another player like Petriccione, who’s a deep-lying schemer in the David Pizarro mold. He looked good at Pistoiese last year, so the step up in quality should be a firm test. Full disclosure, I think he’s one of the better-looking prospects in the system and that he could end up becoming a very solid squad player somewhere down the line. He just needs to get stronger and cut down on the bad fouls, but he’s certainly got the quality to make it in Serie A if he keeps developing.
CF Jaime Baez (Spezia): The 21-year-old Uruguayan sparkplug looked lively last year at Livorno, but never quite put it all together. Another year in Italy and a new club should be just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately, the Aquilotti already have a glut of players up front, including former Primavera star Pietro Iemello. However, the workrate and versatility Baez already possesses should make him an energy sub right off the bat. If he can develop his end product, he’ll quickly become one of the most dangerous attackers in the league, and could even challenge for a space with the Viola next year. That’s definitely an if, though.
GK Artem Makarov (Taranto): The 19-year-old Russian split time with Giacomo Satalino in the Primavera last year, but now gets a chance to shine on his own. He’ll have to beat out veteran Roberto Maurantonio and fellow youngster Pierluca Pizzaleo, both of whom are owned by the Rossoblu. In his first venture away from Fiorentina, the goal is probably to learn as much as he can from other professionals, although challenging for a spot between the sticks isn’t out of the question for him.
CB Nicolo Gigli (Matera): The 20 year old secured a loan to Matera early in the window, where he should compete for a starting spot in Gaetano Auteri’s 3-4-3. After his failed move to Lecce last season ended with a rather ignominious retreat back the the Primavera, it’s another chance for a player who ought to be a Fiorentina legend (at least on the basis of his last name) to prove himself.
CB Saverio Madrigali (Cosenza): The 21 year old has had a weird summer. After signing a two-year extension, he joined Vicenza, but was then yanked to Cosenza instead just a few days later. He firmly established himself as a key starter at Arezzo last year, leading many (including me) to hope that he’d get a chance in Serie B, but Corvino instead chose to send him back to the Lega Pro, where he should get the minutes so critical for a young defender. If he’s unable to break into the first 11, it may signal an end to his place as a top Viola prospect.
LB Luca Zanon (Pistoiese): After his loan spell at Virtus Entella last season failed to yield any real dividends—he made just 5 appearances, and all before the end of October—the 20 year old will try to make an impact with the Arancioni. As a U20 international, he’s got the talent; now, it’s just a matter of putting it all together.
DM Amidu Salifu (Mantova): You have to think that the 23-year-old Ghanaian is running out of chances. After losing last year to a series of knee injuries, he’ll get another chance away from Florence. He’s one of a few holdovers from the last Corvino regime, and Pantaleo just offered him an extension, so you have to think that the club still believes in him. If he can’t seize this chance in the Lega Pro, though, you’d have to think the dream is over.
CM Luzayadio Bangu (Reggina): The 19-year-old Congolese impressed at Moena two years ago and even made a couple of Europa League trips, but ultimately stuck with the Primavera. This preseason, he was less impressive, but did enough to earn a move to the Lega Pro for his first non-Fiorentina action. He should be capable of winning a spot in the team if he stays focused. He’s one of the most naturally-gifted players in the youth setup and has heaps of potential, so we’ll be watching him closely.
CM Domenico Berardi (Tuttocuoio): After a successful stint at Pordenone last year, the 20 year old will get back to work. Although he’s mostly a central midfielder, he’s got a surprising eye for goal which could make him a key man for the Conciari. If he performs well, he could earn a move up to Serie B for next season. Failing that, he’s still one of the handsomest youth players the Viola have.
CB Filippo Boccardi (Imolese): The 19 year old will make his professional debut with the Emilia-Romagna club after working his way throught the Primavera ranks. He should get some minutes, but the experience of playing with other professionals will be the real goal.
RB Enea Sanna (Imolese): Another 19-year-old defender fresh from the Primavera, he’ll join Boccardi in striving for minutes under his first stretch as a professional. Given that Imola is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Florence, it shouldn’t be too much for him.
DM Andres Schetino (Sevilla): The 22-year-old Uruguayan holding midfielder didn’t show up in Sevilla as part of the Sebastian Cristoforo deal, but it’s hard not to compare them. Schetino was unable to crack the Livorno squad last year, leading Corvino to send him abroad. The Rojiblancos have an option to buy him that they’ll probably exercise, as the Crow seems more than willing to let the Daniele Prade player leave for a song.
ST Ante Rebic (Eintracht Frankfurt—Germany): The 22-year-old Croatian will try his luck in Germany after a season spent underwhelming for Fiorentina and Hellas last year. Things are hardly off to a swimming start, as he’s yet to make the match day squad and is listed as having mononucleosis on Transfermarkt, which is rather embarrassing. He’ll compete for a spot up front or on the wing when healthy. Weirdly enough, his main competition right now for a spot in the rotation may be former Viola wunderkind Haris Seferovic, who’s also trying to rescue a flailing career.
ST Steve Beleck (Umraniyespor—Turkey): Poor Steve. Now on his 12th club in 7 years, the 23-year-old Cameroonian seems doomed to wander the world, flashing just enough potential to convince Fiorentina to keep him around, but never enough to earn a stay anywhere for more than a few months. He’s got a chance to get some minutes up top, especially as a strapping target man, but that’s not even important anymore. The poor dude has stated his desire to stay in Florence and fight for a spot, but instead it’s off to a new league. For the 7th time. Jeez.