The Corriere dello Sport has published a report in which it claims that Fiorentina are planning to buy Marco Sportiello at the end of his loan this summer from Atalanta for the previously agreed upon fee of €7 million. It’s not a huge surprise; although the 25-year-old’s been a bit rocky of late, he did have a stretch of 399 shutout minutes at one point earlier this year.
And, although everyone’s focused on this rough patch, he’s starting to work his way back into the Azzurri spotlight too. Had Gianluigi Buffon not returned from retirement, Sportiello—along with Alex Meret of SPAL—was one of the top candidates to replace him in the national setup. While the presence of Gianluigi Donnarumma means that Italy already has a new number one after Buffon steps down in another decade or so, it’s not a bad thing for the Viola 57 (which sounds like a really nice cocktail) to get some recognition.
For what it’s worth, Sportiello has played all 28 Serie A games this year (2,520 minutes), conceding 33 goals and keeping 9 clean sheets. His 2.6 saves per 90 minutes is ranks 15th among goalkeepers with at least 10 appearances. Of the teams that have conceded fewer goals than Fiorentina, only three—Sampdoria with Emiliano Viviano, AS Roma with Alisson, and Lazio with Thomas Strakosha—have goalkeepers making more saves per 90 minutes than the Viola.
Of course, it’s not all great news, because keeping Sportiello almost certainly requires the departure of Bartłomiej Drągowski, who’s itching to get involved somewhere. We still believe that the Dragon could be a star, so we hope that it’s a loan rather than a sale, but you can’t blame the young man for being frustrated. There’s no guarantee, though, that he’ll be better than Sportiello, because Sportiello has been pretty dang good.