It is with considerable personal regret that we inform you that Fiorentina has sold 20-year-old Senegalese midfielder Abdou Diakhate to Parma. While there was no fee mentioned, we’ve heard that the deal was for around €400,000. The Viola will also receive an unknown percentage of any future fees for the player.
It’s a real shame, too, as Diakhate was an absolute star with the Primavera. After rising up through the academy, he made his official debut in the Coppa Primavera back in 2014. He’d go on to stack up 133 appearances for the various youth sides, including 128 for the top youth side, while notching 38 goals and 16 assists. A key member to some of the big-time youth sides of the past few years, he also captained the side to runner-up finishes at Viareggio and in the Fase Final last year.
His stats and successes with the kids only tell part of the story, though. He first gained wider notice as a 16-year-old at Moena in 2015; despite being a decade younger than many of his teammates, his sheer strength raised a lot of eyebrows. It wasn’t just the physical aspect of his game, though; he was also a smart, busy player in the center of the pitch, a real number 8 who was willing to drop deep and put in a defensive shift, offer a short passing option, and then break forward—with or without the ball—to provide a threat going forward as well. Over the past several years, he’d slowly but steadily improved, and fans (us included) considered him an integral part of the future of Fiorentina.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked out. He came of age right when Paulo Sousa, who was a bit averse to using youth in the midfield, took over, which relegated Diakhate to the Primavera. Under Stefano Pioli, he got a long look at Moena last year but was ultimately sent back down to spend another year with the kids. This year, he’s struggled with a knee injury that’s kept him out for much of the year. Even if he’d had his full health, though, it would have been a tall order for any 20-year-old to elbow his way to the front of a very crowded midfield queue.
So arrivederci, Abdou Diakhate. I genuinely thought you were going to become a Viola mainstay for years, but circumstances beyond either of our control conspired to make it otherwise. We wish you nothing but the best at Parma, who’ve made yet another very cagey acquisition in the transfer market. At least we’ll always have Moena in 2015.