After Jan Mlakar joined Venezia on loan, Fiorentina were always likely to bring in another striker for the Primavera. They’ve now done just that, snapping up Slovan Liberec’s 18-year-old hitman Martin Graiciar. Nobody’s been able to ascertain a fee yet, but it’s probably vanishingly small (think a couple hundred thousand euros at most), although Liberec may get a cut of all future proceeds from his sale.
Graiciar is a pretty highly decorated player for a teenager. He’s a Czech U19 international with 6 caps and 2 goals already, and he spent a year in the academy at Arsenal before returning home. After originally signing with Viktoria Plzen and working his way through the youth ranks, he switched to Slovan Liberec last season. Although he began the year in their youth side (so no, he didn’t see the pitch against the Viola in the Europa League), he earned a spot with the senior team towards the end of the year, making 7 appearances across the league and cup competitions and tallying 3 assists.
While he can operate on the wing in a pinch, he’s much more comfortable as a center forward. He doesn’t take too many touches, instead preferring to either lay the ball off quickly and run in behind, much like Nikola Kalinić. And like the Croat, he’s at his best when finishing off chances in the box. For such a young player, his off-ball movement is very clever; nearly all of his goals that I’ve seen came from within 8 yards of the the goal and were neatly dispatched with first-time finishes.
With a bit of pace and a frame that indicates he could fill out a bit, the 6’0 (184 cm) tall striker should be the perfect replacement for Mlakar in the Primavera. He’s already been named as a potential understudy to Patrik Schick for the Czech national side in a few years. If he turns out like his countryman, this will have been a great piece of business.