While Fiorentina fans become increasingly anxious about the odds of seeing a top winger join the club to help take some of the burden of Federico Chiesa, Pantaleo Corvino is busy doing his usual thing: snapping up promising young prospects. This morning he added two more, both likely bound for the Primavera. First, Marko Hanuljak joined from Royal Mouscrons in Belgium, and then Jordy Gillekens from OH Leuven.
Hanuljak is an 18-year-old Croatian central midfielder who grew up in the Elektra Hypo-Limač academy. He’s made 4 appearances for the Croatia U18s. It’s a bit hard to find a lot of information on him, frankly, although it appears that this deal may be a loan of some type, as he only joined Mouscrons earlier this month, meaning that the Viola probably can’t buy him outright.
From what I’ve been able to gather from YouTube and various poorly-translated Croatian sources, he’s a box-to-box type who likes to keep his passing simple but will run all day. He seems a bit small and probably needs to add some muscle but is certainly willing to scrap in the middle. He’s also got a tendency to drift out to the right wing to swing in crosses. He’ll spend the year with the Primavera; hopefully, countryman and former U18 star Josip Maganjić will help him settle in. Here’s the best video of him I could find, from a U18 match against Italy; Hanuljak is wearing number 8.
Jordy Gilleskens is somewhat more of a known quantity, sharing an agent with Kevin de Bruyne. He’s spent his entire career at OH Leuven in the Belgian second division (where his older brother is also a goalkeeper) and even started the first two matches for the Flemish outfit last season as a 17-year-old as they dealt with a rash of injuries. Now 18, there’s talk that the Belgium U19s may call him up a year early.
Fiorentina can be pleased to have landed him for the year. Much like David Hancko, he’s a versatile player due to his composure and talent on the ball and ability to hit long, accurate passes into the attack. He’s solid in the air and reads the game reasonably well, but may be a bit slow-footed. He can also strike a free kick pretty dang well. His agent claims that he chose Fiorentina despite interest from “big clubs” in England and Italy, but take that with a grain of salt. Gillekens will also probably spend the year with the Primavera, giving Emiliano Bigica and Corvino time to decide if they want to trigger the clause to buy him at season’s end.