Well, we’ve got another entry in Fiorentina’s summer of mercato hell. The latest exit is Matías Vecino, who joins Inter Milan for €24 million, leaving a Viola engine room comprised of Milan Badelj, Carlos Sánchez, Sebastian Cristoforo, and Jordan Veretout. It’s yet another dire loss of quality for the Viola, who’ve been losing talent to domestic rivals for months.
Vecino joined Fiorentina back in January of 2013 as a 22-year-old trequartista noted for his shooting and creative passing. We never really saw that, and he went on loan to Cagliari in 2014 and Empoli in 2015. It was that latter move that saw him blossom, as Sarri figured out that the youngster was a dynamo box-to-box operator, the type who leads the team in distance covered and passes made.
That’s the trajectory that Vecino continued on during his time in Florence. Brought into the first team at the start of last year, he delighted fans with his energy in the middle, earning a regular role in the Uruguay midfield for his tireless performances. Never the type to play the killer pass, he was the perfect partner for Borja Valero; Vecino would buzz around, win the ball, and keep possession with intelligent short passes and a knack for finding space to recycle the ball until Valero could find space to administer the the coup de grâce. He’ll finish his Viola career with 85 appearances, 6 goals, 8 assists, 18 bookings, and something like 8,000 kilometers covered.
We won’t enjoy facing Vecino twice a year, as nobody in the Fiorentina midfield can keep up with him. Even more frustrating, he’s almost certain to pick the Viola as the lucky recipients of his twice-a-year “oh yeah, I just remembered how to shoot well” games, meaning he’ll score a couple of screamers from distance, then spend the rest of the season putting low-flying aircraft at risk every time he winds up.
While €24 million is certainly a large pile of cash, it’s a frustrating deal for a number of reasons, chief among which is that the fee was enough to trigger an astonishingly low and myopic buyout clause that club brass put in the Uruguay international’s contract just last year. Given that Maurizio Sarri spent much of last summer trying to sign Vecino to Napoli for a fee reported to be around €35 million, it’s an eyebrow-raising lapse in judgement.