In news that comes shouldn’t surprise anyone, Corriere dello Sport report that Napoli is planning a swoop for Fiorentina standout Federico Chiesa. The 20-year-old winger has 5 goals and 4 assists in 22 matches for the Viola this year, and it’s clear that he’s far and away their most dangerous attacker. With Dries Mertens and José Callejón both past 30, Aurelio de Laurentiis and Maurizio Sarri have tapped Chiesa, along with Bologna winger Simone Verdi, as top targets to rejuvenate the Partenopei attack.
Inter Milan came sniffing around for Fede last summer and were sent packing, as Pantaleo Corvino wasn’t ready to sell his final asset after offloading every key starter from the previous year except for Davide Astori and Milan Badelj. In what we always knew would be a rebuilding year in Florence, focused on developing young talent, Chiesa’s been head and shoulders above the collection of the other forwards Stefano Pioli had to work with: Giovanni Simeone and Gil Dias have been fine, but Ianis Hagi, Rafik Zekhnini, and Simone Lo Faso have all been completely MIA while the likes of Cyril Théréau and Riccardo Saponara gobble up minutes up the pitch.
This, in turn, has allowed opposing defenses to key in on Chiesa. Against Hellas Verona, the Gialloblu backline basically assigned two players to mark him at all times, ignoring the “threat” of Théréau on the other wing. That’s been the youngster’s season condensed down to a single match: the only hope for a moment of quality up top. He knows it, his coach knows, his teammates know it; heck, the whole league knows it.
Such a burden has led to some bad habits, too. He’s far too eager to go it alone and crack off a shot that’s rarely even near the goal. He over-dribbles instead of making the safe pass. He hurtles into corners and gets mad when he can’t get back out. It’s not all his fault, of course, since Chiesa attempting the unlikely is still better than most of the other Gigliati attempting anything at all.
Which is why the siren song of Napoli could attract him. Playing with a cast including Mertens, Callejón, Lorenzo Insigne, and Marek Hamšík, and coached by an attack-minded manager in Sarri, beats the heck of what Fiorentina can offer right now. While he’s a guaranteed starter in Florence, Sarri’s penchant for rotating his squad would offer plenty of opportunities.
With a contract that runs out in 2022, he’d be an expensive buy for the Neapolitans. Selling him, on the other hand, would prove for once and all that the Viola are no longer interested in winning anything, and that the current “youth movement” is just a cynical ploy to avoid paying top salaries while raking in the profits from selling promising players. I hope that Fede stays, but I struggle to see why he would. Get ready for another heartbreak this summer, Viola fans. Fortunately, though, we’re well used to it.