It’s been a season for the youngsters at Fiorentina thus far. 22-year-old Federico Bernardeschi has officially ascended to superstar status. 19-year-old Federico Chiesa has forced his way into the starting lineup. 20-year-old Kevin Diks has starred for the Primavera and made a couple of cameos for the senior side. 18-year-old Ianis Hagi has done the same. 19-year-old Bartlomiej Dragowski seems poised to challenge for number one duties next year, even if he’s not doing much this year. Heck, even 18-year-old Joshua Perez has gotten his senior bow.
Does it feel like that list of names is missing someone? It’s 20-year-old winger Hernan Toledo, whom we all thought would be the best of the bunch when he joined the Viola on a loan deal from Deportivo Maldonado. The terms originally seemed to favor Fiorentina: an initial loan year, then an option for a second, and then an option to buy for about €8 million. Given the quality of his highlights and his impressive start to life as a professional in Argentina, he seemed like the sort of pacy, tricky winger Paulo Sousa has been clamoring for.
Instead, Herni tweaked his hamstring at Moena and only just recently recovered fully. He’s yet to make an appearance with the big boys, and has instead been consigned to training and playing with the Primavera, for whom he’s made just 4 appearances and scored a goal. News has also leaked out that the fee to make his move permanent is actually in the neighborhood of €15 million, which would be a bit steep even if he had established himself as a solid squad player as we’d hoped.
Into this mess steps Vélez Sarsfield, the club at which Toledo originally broke into stardom while on loan. Their plan, it seems, is to petition Maldonado and Fiorentina to terminate Toledo’s loan deal, and then reacquire the player from Maldonado. It’s hard to believe that the Viola would give up so quickly on a player they’ve invested so much in already (a €500,000 initial loan fee paid back in June), especially one with so much potential, but then again, the looming fee is massive, and Corvino could opt to just cut his losses and walk. Either way, it’s a sad state of affairs for a player who certainly looks like this season’s Octavio.