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Viola linked to Jordan Ferri

The Lyon man is supposedly the perfect Badelj replacement. But why replace a guy who’s shown no signs of leaving in this window?

Arsenal v Olympique Lyonnais - Emirates Cup
Decoy?
Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

Let’s talk about Milan Badelj. The Croatian international midfielder has spent a lot of time saying, via his agent Dejan Joksimovic, that he desperately want out of Florence. However, nobody has yet materialized to sweep him away from all this despite purported interest from AC Milan, Inter Milan, AS Roma, Chelsea, and now Juventus, so he’s had to backpedal recently and express his happiness to stay put. The upshot is that the club has had its feathers ruffled and the player’s looked like a brat.

So, with no obvious Badelj-shaped hole in the club, why would Fiorentina be looking for his replacement? Well, maybe Corvino’s being proactive and fully expects the ex-Hamburg man to walk this summer. If that’s the case, though, you can bet that the Crow is scoping out discount deals, rather than a starter on a Champions League team in a major European league.

With all that out of the way, yeah, Lyon’s Jordan Ferri is a very nice player. He’s at his best a bit farther forward than Badelj and likes to pull the strings in the center of the pitch, where his technique, vision, and powerful shot can be deployed to full effect. He’s a hard worker on the defensive side, too, adept at stepping into passing lanes and precise in the tackle, but hardly an overpowering physical presence.

Frankly, he’s probably closer to Borja Valero than Badelj, and would certainly upgrade a Viola squad that struggles for fluency whenever the Spanish maestro isn’t on the pitch. But he’s 24 years old, just hitting his prime, and would probably cost something in the €12 million range as his contract runs until 2020. L’Equipe and various Italian media outlets nevertheless insist that both Fiorentina and Galatasaray have gotten in touch with les Gones for him; Lyon manager Bruno Genesio has confirmed the latter.

As Ferri is stuck behind Maxime Gonalons, Sergi Darder, Corentin Tolisso, and now Lucas Tousart, he’s a natural candidate for the exit. However, that move will dearly cost whatever club opts to buy him, as Lyon tend to drive a hard bargain. I wouldn’t be surprised if the interest in Ferri turned out to be a smokescreen to cover negotiations for the out-of-favor creative midfielder Clement Grenier, in whom the Viola expressed significant interest several months ago.