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Fiorentina may send loanees home early

Gerson and Pjaca may not be in Florence much longer.

ACF Fiorentina v SPAL - Serie A
The only picture Getty has of both Pjaca and Gerson.
Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

As we grind on inexorably towards the January transfer window, we’ve heard no shortage of theories about which players—mostly strikers and midfielders—Fiorentina is going to acquire. Knowing Pantaleo Corvino, this means that none of the names circulated thus far are correct. Guessing the departures is just as tricky, but there are murmurs, increasing in volume every week, that two big-name loanees may be on their way out.

The first is Gerson, currently on loan from AS Roma. After a disappointing first year in the capital, the Giallorossi sent him to Florence on a season-long loan in the hope that he might rediscover the form that made him such a coveted talent just two years ago in Brazil. While he’s hardly looked likely to set the world alight, he’s been solid, generally one of the better performers in the side whether stationed in central midfield or on the wing. He has not, at the very least, been a part of the problem with the team.

However, various outlets have reported that the Viola and the Lupi intend to cut the deal short so that he can return to the southern hemisphere’s Serie A with Rio de Janeiro giants Flamengo. Roma are demanding €16 million from Mengão for him, which is a bit beyond what the club can muster, so young attacker Lincoln may be thrown in as a counter-balance. Gerson’s dad, who’s also his agent, confirmed to a Brazilian radio station that he’s been in touch with all parties about the deal, so this one sure sounds like it has legs.

Of course, any deal would require the Viola to sign off, which may be a tough sell for Stefano Pioli; as previously mentioned, Gerson has made 15 appearances this season and has firmly established himself as a starter. However, terminating the deal early would both save considerably on salary—€1.1 million makes him Fiorentina’s joint-third highest earner—and give Corvino an edge on any other negotiations with Roma in this window (Eusebio di Francesco, anyone?), which could pay big dividends down the road.

The momentum behind Marko Pjaca’s possible return, however, has built up for entirely different reasons. The Croatian winger was the most highly anticipated signing of the summer and was supposed to form part of an excitingly direct tridente with Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone. Instead, he’s been unable to establish himself ahead of Valentin Eysseric, Kevin Mirallas, and Gerson for minutes on the wing, leading some reasonably plugged-in outfits to postulate that his Viola future is on the line.

His performances have been shockingly anonymous for a dude who played in the World Cup (albeit not enough to exhaust him for this season). He’s nursed a couple of minor injuries, but we’ve also heard that maybe his attitude hasn’t been up to snuff. On the pitch, he’s been tentative, rarely taking on opponents and contributing almost nothing on the scoresheet. Frankly, he’s been one of the biggest busts in Serie A this year with regards to expectations at the start of the season, particularly as he’s the club’s second-highest earner after Chiesa.

Terminating his deal could cause some problems, though. First and foremost, Juventus would have to agree, which would put them back on the hook for his wage and probably hobble their mercato activities. Therefore, the Bianconeri would need to have another destination ready to go for the winger; they’d also probably demand some sort of payment for ending the deal early. Second, this could make teams leery of sending players on loan to Florence in the future if this becomes a habit; no DS wants to deal with the headache of figuring out what to do with a returning surplus player in January.

Fiorentina could save €2.8 million in salary if both players move on in January. While losing Pjaca probably wouldn’t hurt the team that much, losing Gerson would really hurt the talent and depth Pioli has at his disposal. However, if these moves freed up the dough for Corvino bring in a quality holding midfielder and a solid striker, it’d be hard to argue against them.