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Season review: Strikers

It wasn’t always great but it happened, so we’re going to give it a look.

ACF Fiorentina v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Slightly uncomfortable, just like the state of Fiorentina’s center forward play this year.
Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

After losing Dušan Vlahović to Juventus 18 months ago (and ask him how that’s been), Fiorentina’s primary brief in the transfer market has been to replace him, and it hasn’t gone well. Management has tried 4 guys in that time. Krzysztof Piątek was completely unable to recapture the form that made him a sensation a few years ago and Christian Kouamé proved to be more of a (quite useful) winger than a striker. That leaves us the pair of guys currently under review: Arthur Cabral and Luka Jović. Let’s dive in.

Arthur Cabral

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

The big Brazilian had a bit more time to settle in and started to find the form that made him a 14+ goal scorer for Basel over 3 years. It took him a few months to unseat Jović atop the depth chart, but il Re Arthur went on a run through February and March that saw him score 8 in 8 games and look like a long-term solution. An injury interrupted his momentum, though, and he never quite got back on the horse. Still, he proved that, while he may run hot and cold, he’s doubtless a Serie A-level center forward. Even when he’s not scoring, his off-ball work makes him a useful contributor. And he’s hilarious.

Stats: 48 appearances (28 starts), 17 goals, 2 assists, 5 yellow cards.

What’s next: There’ve been rumors that he’s on the block as the club looks to upgrade the position, but he’s a fine starter and good backup on a team-friendly deal for 3 more years. It’s hard to find a reason not to keep him.

Grade: B- The beginning and end weren’t great but that middle section was unreal. If he finds a bit more consistency, he’ll be a monster.

Luka Jović

ACF Fiorentina v Istanbul Basaksehir: Group A - UEFA Europa Conference League Photo by Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Signed to great fanfare from Real Madrid in a bizarre loan/co-ownership deal this summer, the heft Serbian was supposed to provide a consistent source of goals. It took him some time to find his feet (and he irritated the fans along the way) but he eventually became solid enough, although his penchant for missing big chances in big games meant he never really endeared himself to fans. Add in what many fans considered a lackadaisical on-field attitude and it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the rebirth he might’ve hoped for upon leaving los Merengues.

Stats: 50 appearances (25 starts), 13 goals, 5 assists, 4 yellow cards

What’s next: There are rumors of a move to Galatasaray, but the terms of his contract mean any negotiation could get complicated (and send half the proceeds to Madrid). Still, the emergence of this story so early in the summer means he could well be on his way out of Florence.

Grade: C- Came in with a lot of swagger but never really backed it up, and the debate rages on if he’s a Piątek-esque 1-hit wonder or a European-level striker with bad luck.

That’s it for our season review of 2022-2023. We’ve graded the goalkeepers, the centerbacks, the fullbacks, the defensive midfielders, the attacking midfielders, and the wingers. We also picked the player, transfer, and goal of the season. That means we’ll have to turn our full attention to the transfer window next. So long, 2022-2023.