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Final loanee reports: Serie A, Serie B, and non-Italian leagues

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It’s a bit of a mixed bag for the lads on loan, so let’s see how it all ended up for them.

ACF Fiorentina v Juventus - Serie A
At least we’ll always have 4-2.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Serie A

Matías Fernández (AC Milan): The 31-year-old Chilean playmaker’s first season with the Rossoneri was marred by injury but showed some glimpses of real promise. If this sounds familiar, then you’re probably a Fiorentina fan; it perfectly mirrors Mati’s first season in Florence. He’ll finish his first year at the San Siro with 13 appearances (8 starts), with a goal, 2 assists, and a single booking. Although Milan’s new owners are pumping cash into the squad at an alarming rate, he’s still a quality spot-starter and bench option, especially with a price tag of just €1 million. Word is that Vincenzo Montella and company plan to redeem this pittance of a fee, so we’ve probably seen the last of Matigol in purple. His final Viola statistics are 131 appearances (more than he’s made for any other team), 7 goals, 28 assists, 10 yellow cards, and 1 red card.

Serie B

Jaime Báez (Spezia): The 22-year-old Uruguayan attacker had his second consecutive disappointing season, and it followed the exact same pattern as the first one. After arriving at Spezia, his physical talents—pace, agility, stamina, technique—brought him an immediate starting role. However, his inability to put it all together saw him drop first to a substitute role, then the bench, then out of the matchday squad entirely, as his manager opted to bring in a less-obviously talented but more productive replacement. His season stats are 26 appearances (11 starts), 1 goal, and 2 yellow cards. Báez is still young and his contract runs until 2020, but another underwhelming year could see him sold at a discount. For next year, he needs to actually produce something. Anything. There’s a good player in there, but he needs to make it happen.

Ricardo Bagadur (Benevento): The 21-year-old Croatian centerback endured a very frustrating season. After establishing himself as a capable Serie B starter last year with Salernitana, he made a single 7-minute appearance in the first match of the season and spent the remaining 45 games on the bench or in the stands, which makes it unlikely that Benevento will exercise their option to buy him. Even though he’s not a Corvino player, the DG liked him enough to put a buy-back clause in the deal with the Stregoni, which bodes well for the lad. However, he needs to go somewhere he’ll get regular minutes next year or he risks another completely lost season. Given his strong showing in Moena before his move away, he’s got the talent to make it happen.

Luca Lezzerini (Avellino): The 22-year-old goalkeeper’s season certainly didn’t go how he might have wanted. After nearly leaving Florence in the summer after management brought in Polish teenage star Bartłomiej Drągowski to be the goalie of the future, Lezzerini got a chance to show his stuff against PAOK and promptly fluffed it. With the January arrival of Marco Sportiello, Luca was always the odd man out, and his move to Avellino felt good for all parties involved. Felt good, that is, until Lezze couldn’t unseat Atlanta loanee Boris Radunović between the sticks and was again relegated to a single start in which he conceded 4 goals. With Radunović departing, though, the Lupi may still cash in their option and buy Lezzerini, although Corvino left a buy-back clause in there as well. If his option goes unredeemed, he’ll almost certainly be sold this summer.

Jacopo Petriccione (Ternana): The 22-year-old midfielder had a solid debut in Serie B, notching a goal, 5 assists, and 10 bookings across 37 appearances (30 starts). He improved a bit in the second half when Fabio Liverani (yes, that one) took over as the Ternana boss; perhaps Jack learned a lot about being a physically unassuming midfielder from his new boss. However, he’s definitely not ready for Serie A yet and may not be for another year or two, considering his waifish physique. Another year in Serie B is probably what we’ll see. If Fiorentina sees him as a long-term piece, expect to see him offered a contract extension some time in the next 12 months.

Lorenzo Venuti (Benevento): The 22-year-old rightback just had a heck of a season, establishing himself as a force for one of the better defenses in Serie B. He made 40 appearances (37 starts), picking up an assist and just 5 bookings. After renewing his contract last year, he seemed well on the way to joining the Fiorentina senior squad. However, the recent rumors that Mario Gaspar is on his way to Florence may scupper that a bit. Instead, he may spend another year either at a promotion-seeking Serie B team or maybe even a Serie A relegation struggler. Either way, Venuti’s future is bright, as he looks like the latest Viola academy prospect to break through to the first team.

Non-Italian leagues

Steve Beleck (Ümraniyespor—Turkey): The 24-year-old Cameroonian striker had a difficult season in the Turkish second division, scoring 5 goals and adding 3 assists and 2 yellow cards in 30 appearances (27 starts), although he came on strong in the second half of the season; all of his goals and assists came in the final 17 matches. His contract with Fiorentina will expire next year and it’s doubtful that he’ll earn an extension, meaning that he’ll probably never wear the Viola shirt. It’s too bad, as a bit of stability would probably do him wonders: he’s played for 12 clubs already in his career and has spoken of his desire to find a steady role in Florence. Although that looks unlikely to happen, we hope he scores buckets of goals next year and earns himself a long-term stay somewhere that he can make his home.

Kevin Diks (Vitesse—Netherlands): The 20-year-old Dutch rightback returned to his boyhood club to finish out the year and had a decent time of it. He started 11 of 13 matches for Vitas, although his 6 bookings and a sending-off are reasons for concern. And, although he remains one of the most promising young fullbacks in the Netherlands system, the recent rumors about Mario Gaspar will certainly have made him reconsider his long-term future in Florence. He’s likely to go out on loan again next season, ideally to a team in the lower to middle reaches of Serie A so that Corvino can evaluate him against top-level Italian opposition. Again, Diks has plenty of talent, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for him to meet whatever challenges the club deems him fit for.

Gilberto (Vasco da Gama—Brazil): The move back to Rio de Janeiro seems to be agreeing with the 24-year-old rightback, who will play with Vasco da Gama until January. He’s firmly established himself as the starting rightback, pushing Yago Picachu (seriously) forward, and seems to be enjoying himself. Given his fiery nature, it’s perhaps not too surprising that he’s in the referee’s book a bit too often, but at least he’s not clashing with his coach, as he had at his previous two stops in Italy. With the glut of young talent at rightback for Fiorentina, he’s probably the odd man out, although his contract runs until 2020, which makes him an obvious candidate for a low-budget transfer.

Giuseppe Rossi (Celta Vigo): The 30-year-old Italian striker had another operatic season. Originally ticketed as the third striker behind Iago Aspas and John Guidetti, he only saw action in the Copa del Rey, the Europa League, and the occasional late league appearance from the bench. Frustrated with this state of affairs, he spoke of his desire to become the regular starter he knew he could be. Eventually, he got that chance, and after a brilliantly taken hat trick against Las Palmas, it looked like he was finally going to become the clinical Pepito we’ve all missed for so long. Fate, though, had other ideas, and a cruciate ligament rupture two weeks later knocked him out for the next several months. His Viola contract is up, making him a free agent, but nobody’s really been calling him as he rehabs his umpteenth knee injury. He wants to play in Spain or Italy, but he find that his only offers come from the MLS. For his sake, we sure hope that he gets another chance, stays healthy, and starts rocketing in the goals somewhere in la Liga.

Andrés Schetino (Sevilla B): The 23-year-old Uruguayan midfielder had an up-and-down year for the Rojiblancos. He began the season as an automatic starter at the base of the midfield, but slowly fell out of favor and barely played through much of the spring. He finishes the season with 19 appearances (7 starts) and 4 bookings. His future remains unclear, as Sevilla have the option to buy him for about €500,000. If they decline it, he’ll return to Florence, but probably not for long. He’s not a Corvino player and hasn’t really shown much since Daniele Pradè brought him over two years ago. With a contract that runs until 2020, he could be sold at a discount sooner rather than later.