Considering that this whole summer has been a matter of finding an attacking complement to Federico Chiesa and Giovanni Simeone, it’s been quite frustrating for Fiorentina fans to see the club instead add some midfield functionality and youngsters who aren’t ready to be regular contributors yet. So when we learned that Everton winger Kevin Mirallas would be joining the Viola on loan for a year, we were very, very excited.
The 30-year-old Belgian brings a wealth of experience and success at the domestic and international levels, having the Greek Super League twice and the Greek Cup once, as well as earning 60 caps for his country. However, the past two years have been been rather below his standards. A poor showing for Everton saw the Toffees loan him to his former employers Olympiacos in January, and he was unable to recapture the old magic there. The reported €5.5 million fee to make the move permanent was too rich for the Greeks, and they sent him back to England.
Despite his recent struggles, though, he’s a very good player. Happiest on the left wing, he likes to stay high up the pitch, hugging the touchline and looking to either get in behind the line or drop deep to receive a pass to his feet before turning and running at his defender. He can shoot with either foot, cross reasonably well, and has the technique to get past his man without breaking a sweat. Yes, he’s a bit older, but 30 is hardly ancient and the slower pace of Serie A as opposed to the Premier League should help him prolong his career.
The formula of the transfer is a loan with an option to buy. While the amount isn’t stated, it seems safe to assume it’s right around the previously mentioned €5.5 million, which would be a steal. Even if Mirallas is on the downside of his career—and again, a 30-year-old should have a few solid seasons in his legs—he’s immediately a massive upgrade over Valentin Eysseric, Gil Dias, and Cyril Théréau on the wing. He’s enough of a threat to take the spotlight off Chiesa a bit, and Stefano Pioli should encourage him to cut inside to make room for the overlapping Cristiano Biraghi. This seems like the perfect marriage of player, system, and opportunity; if he can settle in, Mirallas should have a big role immediately.