After Gaetano Castrovilli’s unfortunate injury on Monday, a dislocated kneecap was the best-case scenario. As painful as that sounds, if Tanino had just suffered this injury, he would surely be back for Moena next July.
However, Fiorentina revealed the full extent of Castrovilli’s injury, and it’s close to the worst possible outcome:
In addition to the dislocation, Castrovilli has torn his ACL, MCL, and meniscus. It’s a devastating blow for a player who had finally been rounding into form and was beginning to look like himself again. For him to be taken out in this way is a cruel, cruel, blow. First and foremost you have to feel for Gaetano in this situation. Having to watch his team from the stands for at least the next six months (and likely longer), going through grueling physical therapy, and having to trust his knee again after this will all be difficult.
In addition, Castro’s injury creates both short and long-term issues for Fiorentina’s midfield.
With Jack Bonaventura also still injured, Fiorentina is currently down to four healthy midfielders on the roster. Jack being called up for the Juventus match tomorrow is a good sign that he will return soon, but he’s still not ready to start.
This means that Fiorentina will have to rely on Sofyan Amrabat a lot more. It’s unclear who will start between Youssef Maleh, Alfred Duncan, and Amrabat, but regardless Amrabat will have to fill in playing in a more advanced role. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing, as it’s more similar to his role with Verona that earned him a move to Fiorentina. However, he’s going to have to soak in a lot of tactical nuances that he has not played in-game before, which is asking a lot.
Even when Jack does return, expect Amrabat to be a feature off the bench every match. In addition, this puts more pressure on our other midfielders to stay out of injury trouble and yellow/red cards.
Rumor had it that Castrovilli was set to sign an extension with the club, a signal that Vincenzo Italiano was ok with Castro and Jack as our two options on the right side of the midfield again next season. Now, he can’t expect a fit Castro until next January at the earliest, and there’s a chance Tanino isn’t back until the summer of 2023. This leaves a big hole in Fiorentina’s long-term planning.
As a result, expect Szymon Żurkowski to get a serious look in Moena next season. The 24-year-old Pole would be the natural in-house replacement, as no one from the Primavera is ready to make the step up. Żurkowski has had an excellent season on loan at Empoli, although like the rest of the team, his form has dipped in recent weeks. Marco Benassi could presumably also be available, but we all know at this point that’s not going to work.
The other option would be to go invest in the Mercato. Bringing in a quality midfielder to rotate with Jack next season would not only please Italiano, but put less pressure on Castro to return quickly. Jack’s contract is up next season, and he would be 34 at the start of the 2023-24 campaign. Thus, that may be a natural time to let him go, and replace him with a fully fit Castrovilli.
Luckily, the Viola brass has some time to decide the right course of action, and no doubt have had discussions about this very topic this past week. Given the good results of the last two Mercato's, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt when making this decision of how to replace Tanino.