It’s been common knowledge for the past few days, but Fiorentina announced today that the club has signed Fabiano Parisi of Empoli for a €10 million fee plus another potential million in add-ons. His contract reportedly runs until 2028 and will pay him €1.5 million a year in base salary with some performance-based incentives in there as well.
Parisi, 22, is one of Italy’s brightest young defenders. He’s already made 58 appearances in Serie A, scoring twice, and is a fixture with the Italy U21s. He even earned a call-up to Roberto Mancini’s senior side for a friendly against Austria, although he didn’t actually make it onto the pitch. That combination of top flight experience at a young age and international selection is rare and generally heralds a player who’s going to be very good for quite a while.
His physical profile is impressive too. He’s got good speed, both over long distances and in short areas, that allows him to get forward in attack and then get back in position at transitions. He’s stronger than his frame would suggest and isn’t afraid to throw himself into tackles and aerial challenges, but his game is predicated on being fast and understanding how to use that skill.
Technically, he’s just fun to watch. Those quick feet make him superb at winning individual duels and make him a dynamic dribbler (85th percentile for progressive carries, 97th for successful take-ons). Like Dodô, he’s happy to jet infield with the ball rather than sticking exclusively to the touchline, which makes him even harder to guard. That line-breaking ball-carrying frequently helped Empoli get out of its own third.
He’s positive as a passer too (80th percentile for progressive passes) but isn’t as impactful in the final third as you’d expect, ranking in the 50th percentile or under for expected assists and shot-creating actions. Part of that might have been playing for Empoli, whose attack underwhelmed this year, but he’ll need to improve his efficiency and decision-making near the goal to take the next step.
Fortunately, he’s got a fantastic role model in-house, ready and willing to provide a daily example of how to become one of Serie A’s most productive fullbacks. Cristiano Biraghi has already met with Parisi—they share an agent and Captain Cris extended his own contract as Parisi signed his—and should show his younger counterpart the ropes.
La Fiorentina anuncia a la vez el fichaje de Fabiano Parisi y la renovación de Cristiano Biraghi. Ambicioso mensaje del club. Qué gran banda izquierda se queda.— Álvaro Canibe (@_Alvarovic) July 14, 2023
⚜️ Los laterales favoritos de tus laterales favoritos. pic.twitter.com/ygknhPGGpD
It’ll be fascinating to see how Italiano deploys his new leftback. We’ve heard that Parisi and Biraghi could take the pitch together; whether that’s Parisi on the wing and Biraghi behind him, or Biraghi in central defense and Parisi at fullback, or Biraghi on the left of a back 3 and Parisi out wide, it gives Fiorentina more tactical flexibility and more quality.
Welcome to Firenze, Fabiano. Can’t wait to see you shine.