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Fiorentina watching Chievo’s versatile Depaoli

The Italian U21 international could reinforce a couple of key areas on the pitch for the Viola.

AC Chievo Verona v SSC Napoli - Serie A
He doesn’t usually wear the butt-end of a large cured sausage on his head.
Photo by Dino Panato/Getty Images

As you may have recently noticed, Fiorentina probably need some help in the midfield and at rightback. This being Fiorentina, of course, the ideal help would be one guy who can play in either spot. And wouldn’t you know it, Pantaleo Corvino seems to have found just the man in 21-year-old Chievo Verona midfielder Fabio Depaoli, who’s emerged as a key player for the Musse Volante this year.

A lifetime Gialloblu who’s worked his way up through the academy ranks, Depaoli made his senior team debut against Atalanta in the 4th matchday, coming on as a sub for captain Preparim Hetemaj. He went on to make 17 more appearances in the league, starting 12 of them, as well as notching an assist in the Coppa Italia loss to Hellas Verona. He’s also made 4 appearances for the Italy U21s, notching a goal and an assist.

As a player, his best quality is probably his intelligence. He can play as a rightback, a right wingback, a central midfielder, or a wide attacker. He’s good with the ball at his feet, but not really the type to slalom past a couple defenders. Rather, he’s a good passer with range and vision and crosses the ball well. He’s got enough pace and stamina to do a job defensively as well.

I’ll be totally honest here: Fabio Depaoli is not the world’s most exciting player. He’s probably not ever going to be mentioned as one of the best in the world. But he’s a smart young player with few holes in his game who’d be able to fill in all over the pitch without any problems. There’s already a Fiorentina connection, too, in that the Azzurini manager Luigi di Biagio used to boss the Viola Primavera. The only hitch I can see is that Depaoli is under contract until 2021, and Chievo aren’t likely to give up one of their most promising young players for just a smile and a handshake. It’ll probably take an offer around €3 million to pry him away. He certainly fits the profile of young, talented, just-starting-to-emerge Italian players that Corvino has targeted of late, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him in purple next year.