Matías Fernández (AC Milan): Finally healthy and integrated into the squad, Matigol has started 6 of the past 7 for the Rossoneri, notching the winner against Genoa back in March for his first goal of the season.
As a Vincenzo Montella favorite, it’s looking more and more likely that Milan will pay the absurdly low €1 million fee to keep the 30-year-old midfielder next season.
Jaime Báez (Spezia): The 22-year-old Uruguayan’s penchant for never delivering a final product finally ticked off manager Domenico di Carlo enough to bench him, and benched he’s remained for most of the past two months. Perhaps he’s showing well in training, because he did make a 13 minute cameo in last week’s scoreless draw against Perugia. He’ll almost certainly be sent back out on loan to Serie B or the Lega Pro next season. He remains a tantalizing prospect blessed with every quality you could ask for in an attacker, but he never seems to quite put it all together. His contract runs until 2020, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see him sold before then, especially since he’s not a Corvino player. If he is allowed to leave, though, put a buyback clause in, for heaven’s sake.
Ricardo Bagadur (Benevento): The 21-year-old Croatian centerback hasn’t even made the matchday squad in 2 months, much less gotten onto the pitch. Having played all of 7 minutes this year, it’s been a lost season for the former U18 international. The Stregoni have an option to buy him (although Fiorentina does have a buyback option), but given his lack of impact, it’s unclear if they’ll exercise it. If they don’t, he’ll probably spend some time in Moena with the senior squad as a training camp body, then head back out to a Serie B club on loan.
Luca Lezzerini (Avellino): You’ve got to feel for the 22-year-old goalkeeper. He stayed in Florence this past year, even with the purchase of Bartłomiej Drągowski, after Sousa convinced him he’d be the number two and had a future with the Viola, but then he had a howler against PAOK in the Europa League and the club bought Marco Sportiello. Luca, to his credit, was never anything but professional, and his move to Avellino seemed perfect: the Lupi would get a highly-rated young keeper with a chance to buy him outright after a half-season audition and the Viola would get to see how he performed with regular playing time and determine whether or not to buy him back. But Lezze’s made just one appearance in Serie B and been unable to beat out Atalanta loanee Boris Radunović. Regardless of whether or not Avellino buys him, he’s almost certainly played his last minutes for Fiorentina.
Jacopo Petriccione (Ternana): Although he’s currently serving a yellow card suspension (he’s picked up 10 in the league this year), the 22-year-old midfield schemer has been in a good run of form recently, tallying 3 assists since we last checked in with him. He ran the show against Novara, creating both goals and nearly scoring one himself.
A few weeks later, he swung in a lovely free kick from the wing that allowed red-hot striker Simone Palombi to head home the opener.
An automatic selection for the Fère, he’s blossomed since the club appointed Fabio Liverani (yes, that one) as manager at the start of March. Petriccione still gets booked too often and he’s probably still too slender to shield a Serie A defense (although he’s been playing a bit farther up the pitch these days), but he’s starting to look more and more like a future contributor. Giving him a shot with a top Serie B or a relegation-threatened Serie A side next year is the logical step.
Lorenzo Venuti (Benevento): It’s been an outstanding season for the Tuscan native, who remains a no-thought first choice selection for manager Marco Baroni. It’s easy to see why, as the 22-year-old possesses an admirable workrate and intelligence beyond his years, demonstrated by his versatility—although he’s a natural rightback, he’s also filled in on the left side of the defense, in the wide midfield spots, and even at centerback. He’s probably further along in his development than Kevin Diks (see below) or Primavera star Giuseppe Scalera and will get a chance to prove himself at Moena this summer. Of all the Viola prospects with the youth team or elsewhere, he may be the one who’s most ready for the big time.
Steve Beleck (Ümraniyespor—Turkey): The 24-year-old Cameroonian hitman has struck twice more since we last checked in with him, bringing his tally for the year to 5. The first was a flawlessly directed header from a deep cross which let him showcase his size and strength.
The second also came from his noggin, but this one was more of the “towering header” variety.
Maybe, just maybe, the peripatetic Beleck is finally starting to bloom into the massive, powerful target man that most teams covet as a Plan B. He’ll be back in Florence this summer, but his contract runs out next year, and Corvino will have to decide whether he’s shown enough promise to warrant another extension. Either way, Beleck seems like a lovely dude and has said he just wants to stay in Florence, so we wish him the best no matter where he ends up.
Kevin Diks (Vitesse—Netherlands): The 20-year-old Dutch rightback has adjusted pretty well to life back at his boyhood club, seamlessly switching between the right and left sides of the defense. It hasn’t quite been all roses, though, as he got himself sent off and suspended for a couple of games for a red card last month, which was the culmination of 6 bookings in 8 matches, which is definitely problematic. In fairness, he’s stayed out of the book in the two matches since his return, so maybe he’s sorting it all out. More positively, he came on in the last few minutes against AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch Cup final to help preserve the lead and provided an assist for the Vitas’ second with a neat through ball. He should get a chance to prove himself at Moena next year and remains one of the more promising and under-the-radar young talents in Europe.
Gilberto (Vasco da Gama—Brazil): The Benders kicks off this Sunday, and the 24-year-old rightback will certainly hope that he can claim a starting berth for the Almirante. However, he’ll have stiff competition in the form of Mádson and Yago Pikachu (I swear I’m not making that up) and may end up spending a fair amount of time on the bench, which has led to some petulant outbursts in the past. Hopefully, his positional versatility, combined with a return to his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, will keep him happy and quiet until he returns next January. He’s a talented player and signed through 2020, but if continues to make himself a headache for his managers, Fiorentina could well cut their losses and sell him for a song, especially since he’s a Daniele Pradè recruit and may not have a lot of support from the current staff.
Maybe this will help convince die Adler to redeem him at season’s end for a fee believed to be somewhere around €1 million. The player himself has said that he’d prefer to stay in Germany rather than return to Florence, and it’s hard to see Frankfurt passing up the opportunity to bring a talented if flawed young attacker on board for such a minimal price. It’s too bad, as Rebić has always possessed all the qualities you look for, with the exception of a calm and patient head on his shoulders.
Giuseppe Rossi (Celta Vigo—Spain): The exquisite tragedy of Pepito took a gut-wrenching turn again last month when he tore his ACL against Eibar, which will knock him out for the remainder of the season. It’s a damn shame, considering that just 2 weeks earlier he’d notched a hat trick in under an hour against UD Las Palmas and looked like he was finally confident, healthy, and back to being his predatory and instinctive self. Seriously, just look at this.
He underwent surgery already and is now in the midst of rehab. His contract expires at the end of the year and he’ll be a free agent, but what with his current injury and all the ones in the past, nobody seems sure where he’ll end up. Beppo himself has spoken of wanting to stay in either Spain or Italy (although his agent acknowledges it won’t be with Fiorentina), but if he fails to generate any interest, the big money of the MLS could bring him back to the States. All in all, it’s a crushing blow for an extraordinarily gifted player. As ever, though, his strength and personality have him on track.
Andrés Schetino (Sevilla B): The 22-year-old Uruguayan has fallen out of the rotation in Seville, playing just 39 minutes in 2017. His fall from favor throws his future with the Rojiblancos into doubt; the Andalusians have an option to buy him at the end of the year for a fee believed to be around €500,000, but may instead send him back to Florence. If that happens, he’ll almost certainly leave again on loan immediately, as he’s another Pradè signing in whom the current regime seems to have little confidence. He’s on the books until 2020, but unless something dramatic happens, he probably won’t last that long. He’s well on his way to becoming another Octávio or Hernán Toledo: a supposedly talented teenager from a small South American club who just fades away without ever making a real impression.