10. Joshua Pérez
The skinny: The 19-year-old is, since the release of Cody Sundquist, the only American in the Fiorentina setup, which makes me inclined to pull for him. However, it’s not just some vestigial jingoistic urge from me that puts him on this list; he’s a genuinely talented and fun attacker. His preference is to start on the right and cut inside onto his stronger foot to curl a shot at the back post, but he’s way more multi-dimensional that that. He’s got a talent for finding creases in the defense to worm his way into and uses his low center of gravity to jink past defenders. He made his senior team debut against Inter Milan last season, but it was with the Primavera where he impressed, to the tune of 12 goals and 7 assists in 33 appearances. He’s still a bit more selfish than you’d like, but how can you not love a 5’5 (165 cm) attacker with all kinds of swagger?
Goals for this season: Take another year with the kids and show them who’s boss and maybe earn another cameo or two with the big boys
9. Simone Minelli
The skinny: Another pint-sized attacker, the 20-year-old is spending another season with AlbinoLeffe after destroying the Primavera circuit two years ago with 14 goals in 19 appearances. He didn’t impress last year in Lombardy, failing to score in 26 appearances—mostly off the bench—so he’ll try his luck this year with Trapani, where he should have a better chance to lock down a starting spot. He’s certainly got the quality to do so, as he’s dazzled for the Italy youth setup at all levels, including 3 appearances and a goal with the U20s. He can play through the middle, on either wing, or even in midfield, using his pace, fantastic close control, and very intelligent movement and positioning to create chances
Goals for this season: Earn a spot on the wing for Trapani and set Serie C on fire
8. Josip Maganjić
The skinny: Already saddled with a “new Nikola Kalinić” moniker when he arrived in Florence from Hajduk Split due to his rise through the Whites’ youth ranks, clever movement in the box, and mature hold-up play, the 18-year-old has reinvented himself over the past year with the Primavera, showing a facility for operating on the left wing. He tallied 5 goals and 3 assists in 18 appearances, which doesn’t seem like it’s setting the world on fire, but both team management and the player himself were frank about this being a transition year for him. Now that he’s settled in, he should be one of the key cogs out wide, and will also make some appearances through the middle. Widely hailed as one of the Croatia’s most exciting talents, he’s on the cusp of breaking into stardom.
Goals for this season: Figure out a position, make it yours, and fulfill that potential
7. Giacomo Satalino
The skinny: You rarely hear a lot about 18-year-old goalkeepers (Gianluigi Donnarumma excepted), so it was a big surprise last year when we heard that Arsenal had made a bid for Satalino, whom they saw as a long-term Petr Čech replacement. Expected to spend last year on loan and competing for first-team minutes, a knee injury to Bartłomiej Drągowski kept young Jack in Florence, riding the bench for numerous Serie A matches. He’s not ready for the big time yet, but it won’t be long now; he’s got the size, reflexes, and shot-stopping of a much more experienced custodian, and will develop a more commanding presence with experience. Since he hasn’t been sent on loan, Stefano Pioli must be planning to use him as the senior side’s third goalkeeper, although he should get chances to stay sharp with the Primavera in relief of Michele Cerofolini.
Goals for this season: Well, since Fiorentina just sold him to Sassuolo, not entirely sure what to put here besides dammit
6. Kevin Diks
The skinny: Remember him? Now 20 years old, the Dutchman is back in his home nation with Feyenoord, competing for silverware in the Eredivisie. Just last year, we thought that he might push for playing time with Fiorentina, but Paulo Sousa’s formation kept him locked out. He’s already earned a starting spot with de Trots van Zuid and should have every opportunity to prove himself in a very attack-minded league. He could easily return next year and carve out a substantial role with the senior side if he does well. We’ll repeat what we said when he originally signed for the Viola: we think he could easily become a faster, more technical, and generally improved version of Lorenzo de Silvestri, who’s the last real rightback to make a mark in Florence. A year adrift doesn’t change that.
Goals for this season: Shut down all those highly-touted wingers in the Netherlands and remind us of why we fell in love