Paulo Sousa had trouble this past season figuring out a decent rotation to ensure that both Nikola Kalinić and Khouma Babacar got adequate minutes. Even though they were two of the most productive players for Fiorentina, it was Kalinić who earned the lion’s share of playing time, often leaving the Babacar Named Desire stuck in the garage. So when Gianluca di Marzio says that Fiorentina are in for yet another striker, one begins to wonder just what’s going on in Corvino’s brain.
According to the reliable rumormonger di Marzio, that something involves Genoa star Giovanni Simeone. The 21-year-old Argentine enjoyed a breakout season, earning his first international caps and generally impressing everyone in Serie A with 12 goals and an assist in 35 league appearances. A true in-the-box number 9, he’s a stocky figure with pace, power, and an eye for goal, particularly from crosses. As one might expect from the son of Cholo Simeone, he’s also a non-stop runner.
But where would he fit in Florence? As things stand, there’s certainly a need for a third striker in the squad, unless Jan Mlakar is way more advanced than everyone believes. But Simeone is young and hungry, and Stefano Pioli would be hard pressed to find space for him, Kalinić, and Babacar.
While it could be your typical, baseless mercato whispering, this seems a bit more insidious. Specifically, we’ve heard about various clubs making offers for Kalinić. Inter Milan have tapped him as the perfect backup to Mauro Icardi, while all evidence points to Sousa making an attempt to bring him to Chinese side Jiangsu Suning. Should the Slim Reaper leave, Simeone would make a lot more sense.
Then again, AC Milan also covet the Grifoni hitman, and with their new-found financial clout, they could make a big move for him. We’ve heard rumblings of the Rossoneri offering cash and Gianluca Lapadula in exchange, which could be tough to turn down if Genoa has already resigned itself to losing their star.
Of course, that’s discounting hometown hero Khouma Babacar, who’s surely earned an opportunity to lead the line for at least half a year after his blistering displays this season. In relief of Kalinić, he scored 14 goals across all competitions, or 1 every 126 minutes; his record in Serie A on a per minute basis was as good as Icardi, Gonzalo Higuaín, or Ciro Immobile.
This could mean yet another controversy up top for the Viola as they enter what certainly looks like a rebuilding period. On the other hand, having to pick between Babacar—who’s already proven himself to be a productive Serie A striker—and Simeone—who’s managed 3 caps in an absurdly stacked Argentina attack—is hardly the worst problem to encounter.