If the press is to be believed, Pantaleo Corvino is desperately searching for a belated Milan Badelj replacement at the base of the Fiorentina midfield. We’ve seen plenty of names linked in recent weeks, and now Alfredo Pedullà has added the name of Kristoffer Olsson, a 23-year-old who plays for AIK and Sweden.
Fresh off an impressive inaugural season with the reigning champions, Olsson recently gave an interview (translated into Italian by Pedullà) in which the midfielder says, “My future? First of all, I’m going to take a little bit of vacation, since the season is over. Then we’ll see what’s best for me and AIK.” When asked about Fiorentina specifically, he responded, “If I leave, it will only be for a good opportunity because I’m very happy at AIK.”
It’s a pretty obvious non-answer, especially since the Allsvenskan just wrapped up; apparently it’s pretty tough to travel for matches in a Swedish winter (who knew?). That would mean that Olsson could be available in the January window, although it’s an open question as to whether he’d A) even want to join a Viola side that already feels a packed midfield, B) whether he’d adapt fast enough to Italian football to help the team much, particularly in that holding role, and C) whether Corvino’s actually interested in him or whether it’s just a typically elaborate smokescreen.
That’s not to say that Olsson isn’t a classy player, because he most certainly is. Despite a steady spell at the Arsenal academy, he was deemed surplus to requirements and moved to Danish giants Midtjylland in 2014. After some early promise was snuffed out by a broken fibula, he established himself in the first team as a 20-year-old in 2014 and never looked back, earning a switch to AIK last year. He wasted no time settling in, making scoring 7 goals and assisting 8 more in 40 appearances.
Unlike some of the other midfielders linked to Fiorentina of late, Olsson isn’t a physical specimen. Lean as a whippet, he possesses good technique and a quick mind; this combination helps him find small areas of space and move the ball forward quickly. He likes motoring forward to support the attack, which certainly fits the current Viola profile, but he probably lacks the instincts and robustness to slide into the holding role, which means he’d add to the logjam in the middle which currently contains Jordan Veretout, Marco Benassi, Edimilson Fernandes, and Bryan Dabo.
It’s not like picking up a full Swedish international would be a mistake, but the context here just doesn’t fit. With a contract that currently runs until 2020, AIK are under no pressure to let him go, so the price could be around the €4 million neighborhood. With various holes elsewhere in the roster, Corvino would be better served by focusing elsewhere, even if it means missing out on the quality that Olsson undoubtedly possesses.