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Sportiello set to take over as Viola goalkeeper

This might be curtains for Tata.

ACF Fiorentina v Genoa CFC - Serie A
Number one.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

If there’s one area of the pitch that Fiorentina are stacked in, it’s between the posts. Ciprian Tătăruşanu is an established international starter. Marco Sportiello earned his Serie A debut aged just 21 years and remains a very promising player. Bartłomiej Drągowski remains one of the top teenaged goalkeeping prospects in the world. Primavera star Giacomo Satalino has attracted interest from Arsenal. Artem Makarov and Michele Cerofolini have been good enough to earn minutes on that same Primavera side. Heck, Luca Lezzerini is still regarded fairly highly, although he’ll almost certainly be sold posthaste. All in all, the goalkeeping position is stacked.

It’s those first three, though, whose roles are up in the air. Tata has been the unquestioned starter since 2015 when Neto bolted for Juventus, and the Romanian has been, at worst, a steady presence at the back. He’s made some tremendous saves in his 3 years in Florence and rarely makes mistakes, aside from his frankly atrocious passing. He’s almost certainly the odd man out, though.

Corvino snagged Sportiello from Atalanta after la Dea froze out their former idol in favor of Etrit Berisha. It seemed a bit odd that he’d join Fiorentina, since he’d explicitly indicated a desire to start, but the terms of the deal—an 18 month loan with a fee around €7 million due in 2018—hinted that Corvino had assured his new signing of a starting berth come this season.

Tata has certainly garnered some interest on the market: as has been the case for several years, unspecified English clubs are sniffing around, as is Torino. We’ve also heard rumblings that he could return to Romania. Although he’s got a couple years left on his contract, he probably won’t bring in a particularly large fee. He will, though, free up a spot for Sportiello, who was once considered the heir apparent to Gigi Buffon and still has the look of a very good goalie.

That would leave Dragowski as the backup keeper. Provided he plays in the Coppa Italia, that’s probably a good place for him, although it might be better to loan him to a Serie B club that’ll give him more minutes; he’s got plenty of starting experience at the senior level and has seemed a bit frustrated by his stint on the bench. If that happens, expect the Viola to bring in a veteran backup.

If that’s how it works out—with Sportiello starting and either Dragowski or a player to be named later backing him up—this could certainly prove a masterstroke from Corvino. If he can’t find a buyer for Ciprian, though, it could all go belly up in a hurry, which makes this a spot to watch during the summer mercato.