Fiorentina announced this morning that goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski will spend the remainder of the year at Empoli on loan without an option for the Azzurri to buy. In return, the Viola will get journeyman custodian Pietro Terracciano on loan until June, also without a purchasing option; he’ll serve as the backup to Alban Lafont.
This is the best outcome for everyone involved. Drągowski should settle in as the starter at the Stadio Carlo Castellani, as Ivan Provedel shouldn’t prove too difficult to unseat. The Viola loanee will have a chance to show what he can do—his new team has a -15 goal difference—but should benefit from a typically well-drilled Giuseppe Iachini defense, which will at least give him some time to catch his breath between saves.
Fiorentina will finally get to see what the goalie, once hailed as one of the top keeper prospects in the world, is really capable of. He’s looked strong but uneven in very limited appearances, but he’s also been forced into a reserve role for the past two years through no real fault of his own. Now the Viola brain trust will finally get to see what sort of player they have on their hands.
Empoli, meanwhile, simply receive a no-risk opportunity for a big upgrade between the sticks as they seek to survive in the top flight for another year. That it’s a mere short-term loan with no option probably won’t bother them much, as they’ll have the full summer to seek an upgrade elsewhere if necessary.
It may not be the conclusion that the 21-year-old wanted but it’s almost certainly the best one for the short-term. Snapped up from hometown club Jagiellonia Bialystok for €2.5 million in the summer of 2016, he was technically one of Pantaleo Corvino’s first signings, but the DS clearly considered him a product of his predecessor Daniele Pradè’s regime and wasted no time in looking for other options, first with Marco Sportiello and then with Alban Lafont. The insistence on bringing in young goalkeepers indicates that the Crow doesn’t think much of the Dragon. This may be young Bart’s best chance to advertise himself for a new club next year; if he puts on a show, Fiorentina will receive a ton of offers, as he’s unlikely to usurp €15 million man Lafont unless he transforms into Gigi Buffon circa 2012.
Terracciano, meanwhile, comes out pretty well too. The 28-year-old has played 10 Serie A matches, including the first 8 this year before falling behind Provedel, but has spent most of his career bouncing around Serie B. Fiorentina is the highest profile club he’s ever suited up for, and he’s just a Lafont injury away from the gig of his life. Whether he’ll take over Drągowski’s role as the Coppa Italia keeper or cede that title to Lafont or even a youngster like Simone Ghidotti is unclear. Either way, though, the former Avellino and Catania man will serve as a mentor to Lafont rather than as direct competition.