Hard on the heels of Federico Bernardeschi’s exit stage right for Juventus, Pantaleo Corvino seems to be slipping the Fiorentina mercato into gear. The club has announced the acquisition of midfielder Jordan Veretout from Aston Villa for €7 million. He should slot into the first XI pretty quickly.
Veretout is a 24-year-old Frenchman who joined Aston Villa from Nantes back in 2015 for €10 million. After a disappointing first year in England, he was sent to Saint-Étienne on loan, where he became a key cog in the machine for the les Verts. In fact, they thought they’d finalized a deal for him, agreeing to terms with the player and with Villa, until Corvino swooped in with an improved offer and hijacked the deal, resulting in some bitter words from the Saint-Étienne president.
It’s easy to see why he’s frustrated to lose such a talented player. Veretout is the prototypical midfield schemer: quick on the ball, eager to motor forward, and dangerous around the edge of the area. He’s something of a dead ball specialist and has converted every penalty he’s taken in his professional career. He made 43 appearances for Saint-Étienne across all competitions last season, tallying 4 goals, 5 assists, and 7 bookings. He also operated as part of a pivot in a 4-2-3-1, so he should fit right in with what Stefano Pioli is doing.
He’s got quite an international pedigree, too, first gaining widespread notice as part of les Bleus U21 impressive engine room with Geoffrey Kondogbia and Giannelli Imbula and holding off guys like Nabil Fekir and Jordan Ferri . While he hasn’t achieved domestic success, we remain convinced there’s a very good footballer in there waiting to be unlocked.
He’ll probably be paired with an enforcer like Carlos Sánchez in the middle and will be tasked with jump-starting quick attacks with intelligent passes to the attackers. He’s a perfect fit in terms of skill set and looks the sort of player Pioli could turn into a star, rather like Lucas Biglia at Lazio. The timing of the deal—a day after Berna’s sale to Juve—seems very intentional, too, as a way to remind the fans that now the club has the cash to bring in some talent. As long as Veretout is merely the first, rather than the primary, reinforcement, the move bodes well for Fiorentina.