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Fiorentina Prospects Countdown 15-6

A bumper double edition of this year’s countdown

ACF Fiorentina v SPAL - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Any of you around the Seattle area may have noticed a rise in temperature last week. Don’t worry that was just the excitement radiating out of our own Tito prepared for his first trip to Florence. Sadly, this in combination with the 1000 other things he does a week to keep this site ticking meant that Tito couldn’t get to the second section of our youth prospect countdown last week, and as such we have a double feature on the matter. So without further ado, let’s get back into our countdown:

15.Michele Cerofolini

Position Last Year: 18th

The latest in a long list of goalkeepers to graduate from the Primavera, Cerofolini is one of four Fiorentina players currently on loan with Serie B side Cosenza. Last year the Arezzo-born ‘keeper impressed as the no.1 for the Primavera earning his first cap for the Italy u20 team, now managed by ex-Primavera boss Federico Guidi, and drew the interest of several clubs in Italy’s second league. This year he’ll have to compete with Umberto Saracco for minutes, and no matter how well he performs on loan, it’ll be an uphill battle for him to break through into his parent club’s first XI anytime soon. That said, Michele is certainly a talented player who could well find himself playing Serie A football in the not so distant future.

Goal for this Season: Take the first team place from Saracco and convince one of Serie A’s worse teams to pursue a loan deal for him in the Summer.

14.Gabriele Ferrarini

Position Last Year: N/A

After missing periods of last season due to ill-discipline and injury, Ferrarini has reclaimed the starting berth at right back for the Primavera this season. The eleven-time u18 international started the year brightly, though like the rest of the team, he didn’t cover himself in glory in last weekend’s 4-1 defeat to Torino.

Goal for the Season: Stay on the pitch and draw the interest of a Serie B team next year.

13.Luca Ranieri

Position Last Year: 20th

Another player who impressed for the Primavera last year, Ranieri will spend this year with striker Gabriele Gori on loan at Foggia. Whilst his new club’s form has been about as consistent as their tax returns, things are going fairly well for Luca who has made three appearances off the bench so far for i Satanelli avari. More used to playing in a back four, it may take a bit of time for him to adapt to Gianluca Grassadonia’s preferred 3-5-2, but things are looking bright for Luca.

Goal for the Season: Work on being a more threatening attacker and push his way into the Foggia starting line-up

12.Nicky Medja

Position Last Year: N/A

A personal stand-out of preseason, Cameroonian-born Swiss youth international Nicky Medja is a very versatile midfielder. Capable of playing on either flank or in the hole behind the attack, he looks at his best to me in a central role, which is where he has started the season for the Primavera moving from box-to-box and frequently finding himself in the right place to intercept a pass or link up with the attacking players.

Goal for the season: Command the centre of the pitch for the Primavera and push for Serie A football next year.

11.Petko Hristov

Position Last Year: N/A

After spending a year in the Primavera, Bulgarian CB Hristov is now out on loan with Serie C side Ternana. I Rossoverdi’s season started late following an appeal by the club to be allowed to rejoin Serie B which was ultimately denied, and as such they’ve only played one game, with Hristov starting. Whilst he’s not as assured on the ball as many teams expect of the modern defender, Hristov is imperious in the air and has the kind of positional awareness that all great defenders need.

Goal for the Season: Prove that he’s above the standard of Serie C and attract a club with more challenging opposition.

10.Erald Lakti

Position Last Year: N/A

Something of an unsung hero of the Primavera last season, Lakti’s often sublime performances in midfield were overshadowed by Gori and Sottil’s brilliance. Playing in a role similar to the one Jordan Veretout fills for the first team, Lakti was the player the team looked to to orchestrate their attack and move the ball into the final third. So far this season, the Prato-born Albanian youth international has been displaced by newcomer Marko Hanuljak, but there’s still plenty of time for him to reclaim his spot.

Goal for the Season: Fight his way back into the Primavera team, and try to catch the eye of a Serie B team next season

9.Riccardo Sottil

Position Last Year: 13th

Acquired from home town club Torino at the age of 17, Sottil has developed into one of the most prolific wingers the Primavera have ever had. Equally comfortable playing on either wing, Sottil’s talent for beating a man and finding space saw him score 23 goals and register 11 assists in his 48 Primavera appearances, averaging a goal or assist every 100 minutes or so. This year there was significant interest in him from a number of Serie B clubs, but management saw fit to keep him in Florence as a member of the first team. Whilst he faces a great deal of competition for minutes, Pioli has already shown he’s willing to provide the youngest members of the squad opportunities in games, and Sottil has the talent to force his way into contention for more meaningful playing time sooner rather than later.

Goal for the Season: Take advantage of the opportunity to train with more talented and experienced players, and try to break into the rotation by the end of the year.

8.Tofol Montiel

Position Last Year: N/A

Were this a list of players with the highest potential ceiling, Montiel may very well have found himself at the top. The €2,000,000 Fiorentina paid for him raised eyebrows this Summer, but after a thoroughly impressive showing in preseason, the buzz around the Spaniard had some speculating whether he’d be immediately competing for a place in the first team. Whilst that hasn’t happened, he has started steadily for the Primavera, playing all 90 minutes of their opening games, grabbing himself a goal and two assists in the process.
Goal for the Season: Carry his good preseason form into the season and convince Pioli to move him ahead of Sottil in the pecking order.

7.Martin Graiciar

Position Last Year: 14th

Graiciar spent last season on loan with Czech side Slovan Liberec and has only played 45 minutes of competitive football for Fiorentina so far. As such it’s hard to have a complete picture of him as a player. That said what we’ve seen from the glimpses we’ve had of Graiciar are very promising, the Czech u19 international is the very picture of a modern complete forward, tall, strong, and very physically imposing, but also composed on the ball and confident enough to dribble past a man. Sadly, Graiciar failed to make a strong impression in his first game for the Primavera and was withdrawn 45 minutes into the game, as Bigica adapted the teams shape following a red card for centre back Giorgos Antzoulatos. With Dusan Vlahovic starting so strongly he’ll need to grab the next opportunity he’s given with both hands.

Goal for the Season: Free himself from Vlahovic’s shadow, and show Bigica that he deserves minutes

6.David Hancko

Position Last Year: N/A

Signed for €3,500,000 this Summer, Hancko primarily featured for previous club Zilina as a centre back, but has been used by Pioli as a full back. The lofty Slovenian has taken to the change in position like a duck to water, and if the game against S.P.A.L is anything to judge by, he’s more than comfortable with the additional attacking responsibilities that come with playing out wide. As one would expect of any player with such a price tag, Hancko seems to be viewed as a full-time member of the first team, and should expect to see a small but not insignificant amount of playing time this year.

Goal for the Season: Learn from the talented players around him, and aim to be pushing for minutes by the start of next season.