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Loanee reports: Serie A

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Alternate title: sure would be nice to have a couple more wingers.

Cagliari Calcio v FC Crotone - Serie A
Being Ricky isn’t a bad thing.
Photo by Enrico Locci/Getty Images

It’s probably time we started checking in on the players who are on Fiorentina’s books but are loaned out elsewhere. We’ll start by checking out the guys at Serie A clubs, and will proceed to Serie B, Serie C, and the non-Italian leagues in subsequent weeks.

Marco Benassi (Hellas Verona)

The 26-year-old midfielder has yet to make his debut for the Mastini thanks to an ankle injury he picked up late last year, but he’s fit as of last Sunday and should be on the bench for Ivan Jurić’s men against Sassuolo this Sunday. He’ll likely need a couple of weeks to get up to speed in the Croatian boss’ demanding system but could get a few chances to show his stuff due to the rash of injuries Hellas are dealing with; Benassi looks like a good replacement for Andrea Zaccagni in particular in the roving role behind the striker. The former Torino captain’s knack for popping up with a goal is a quality that Jurić should cherish. If he can help Marco grow into the complete midfielder he showed signs of being at previous stops, the Gialloblù will consider his €7 million fee a bargain.

Stats: 0 appearances

Goals: Get healthy, get acclimated, get on the pitch, score half a dozen goals, and participate in the team’s buildup and defense rather than ghosting out for 90 minutes.

Federico Chiesa (Juventus)

The 23-year-old winger has started every game for which he’s been available thus far, tallying an assist against Spezia and winning a penalty against them as well. He’s also gotten his first taste of the Champions League. That said, his inaugural match with the Juvenuts—a (very soft) sending off at Crotone—feels like the most representative of the season for him. Bianconeri fans are already complaining about his lack of end product and his habit of putting his head down and driving himself into blind alleys. That said, as Andrea Pirlo figures things out, the entire team, including Chiesa, should improve, so it’s probably a bit early to start doing the idiotic social media thing where every calls him a fraud or posts a clown emoji whenever he’s mentioned.

Stats: 5 appearances (5 starts), 406 minutes, 1 assist, 1 red card

Goals: Don’t get hurt and don’t do anything stupid enough to get sent to the stands. Fiorentina could use that money.

Riccardo Sottil (Cagliari)

Just as we all expected, the 21-year-old winger has impressed in Sardinia. He’s immediately locked down a starting spot and has looked lively. While his end product remains a bit iffy (although he’s averaging more goal-creating actions than any Viola player bar Franck Ribery and Cristiano Biraghi, per FBRef), he’s at least gotten his first Serie A goal. More importantly, though, he remains a live wire with the ball at his feet: 2.3 completed dribbles and 237.5 progressive meters of ball-carrying (8th-best among qualifying midfielders and forwards) per 90 show that he remains a dynamic force in possession. He’s not winning fouls at the rate he did last year, but another couple of months under Eusebio di Francesco’s tutelage should improve his output enough that he’ll start popping up on those “5 best Serie A players under 22” lists.

Stats: 8 appearances (5 starts), 464 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist

Goals: Get to a dozen combined goals and assists on the season, earn some buzz for a senior Italy call up, and then decide not to sign with the Isolani at season’s end and return to Florence. We miss you so much it hurts.