19-year-old attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi has finally left Fiorentina after months of frustration with his lack of opportunities in the first team. He’ll return to Viitorul Constanța, whence the Viola bought him for €2 million in 2016. They’ll receive the same fee, with a chance for an extra €500,000 should the teenager meet certain incentives.
Hagi’s time in purple is a glowing example of how to mess up a high-profile youngster’s career. He signed on after quite a bit of hemming and hawing between Fiorentina and Viitorul, the club that his dad Gheorghe (yes, that one) manages. His arrival was seen as a coup for the Gigliati, as a host of other European clubs had been in pursuit of the then-16-year-old.
After a couple of impressive years with the Primavera and a pair of cameos in Serie A last season, management promised Hagi that he’d feature in the senior team this year. Instead, he’s been with the Primavera for most of the year, although Stefano Pioli has occasionally called him to the bench. Watching the team’s attack sputter behind the likes of Cyril Théréau and Riccardo Saponara, it’s no surprise that he grew increasingly frustrated, even to the point of delivering an ultimatum several months ago that he had to play to improve and that unless it happened very soon, he’d leave Florence for somewhere he could get senior football.
While Hagi’s most famous for being the son of a famous father, he’s a sparkling talent in his own right. After making his debut in the Romanian first division as a 14-year-old, he demonstrated some tantalizing technique while playing against grown-ass men twice his age, notching 4 goals and 2 assists in 39 appearances in Liga 1. For the Primavera, he scored 5 and assisted 3 in 13 matches while displaying the sort of fantasia that generally gets pundits raving.
It’s another high-profile instance of Pantaleo Corvino getting rid of every trace of Daniele Pradè’s influence on the squad without receiving any return. Indeed, this turn of events actively hurts Fiorentina; what young player will trust that the club will play them now, after seeing the public promise to give Hagi some minutes on the pitch completely ignored? As Rafik Zekhnini, another player who was assured of playing, molders on the bench as well, bringing young players in will become a tougher sell.