As Fiorentina scramble to replace Milan Badelj at the base of midfield, a number of options have arisen. Argentine Rodrigo Battaglia’s move from Sporting has hit a snag as the clubs bicker over terms, so Fiorentina have made an attempt to buy Genk’s Sander Berge.
According to Gianluca di Marzio, the Viola offered €12 million for the hulking 20-year-old, but the Belgian outfit has demanded €17 million. Di Marzio believes that a deal in the range of €15 million plus incentives will see the business done.
While that’s an imposing figure for a man who turns 21 this year, Berge possesses some impressive qualities. Most obvious is his size: he’s 6’5 and 205 pounds (194 cm and 93 kg). For such a large man, he’s much quicker than you’d expect, too. He uses his pace, strength, and length to smother attackers, and he wins most of his aerial duels. He’s quite good on the ball too, capable of striding forward with the ball with would-be tacklers bouncing off him or picking up his head and hitting long diagonal passes to the wings.
He’s not a perfect player; his defensive positioning lets him down sometimes, he can rely too much on his dribbling in deep positions, he’ll occasionally be a passenger in possession, and his inability to threaten the goal—he’s scored once in his career as a pro—are all areas that need work.
However, a 20-year-old with 9 caps already is likely to learn a lot, so none of these flaws count as deal-breakers. It’s easy to imagine an English team offering a wheelbarrow of cash for him in a tear or two as he improves, so €15 million could wind up as a bargain.