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What we talk about when we talk about Sander Berge

The enormous Norwegian midfielder has been linked to Fiorentina non-stop for more than a year and we’re trying to find meaning.

Belgian Soccer Golden Shoe 2018 Gala Photo by Jan De Meuleneir / Photonews via Getty Images

With another international break upon us, it’s time to hear about more Sander Berge. The Norwegian midfielder has popped up in Fiorentina transfer rumors for several windows in a row, although he hasn’t actually ever seemed all that likely to arrive, given that Genk seem to consistently ask for about 40% more than the Gigliati are willing to pay. And yet Gianluca di Marzio reports that we’re about to restart the whole song and dance.

As we’ve said before, Berge has the potential to be a very good player. The first thing you notice is always his size: if he’s not larger than Nikola Milenković, he’s certainly not smaller. He’s got shockingly quick feet, considering how far away from the rest of him they are, and he possesses the technique to ping passes out to the wings or charge forward on the ball with opponents bouncing off him like flies on a windshield. He uses his size well to win the ball in the air and on the ground, as you’d expect; his only real weakness is a tendency to fade from the action for stretches in possession, but he’s a hard-working and reliable player, which is how he’s achieved 16 caps for Norway already.

According to di Marzio and company, the Smurfs (really love that Genk is called the Smurfs) now want €25 million for the large human, which is an increase of about €8 million from their valuation over the summer. That’s a hefty sum for a player who’s struggled with injuries—he’s missed 47 matches over the past 3 years with various lower-body ailments—and even more so for a guy whose skillset overlaps almost perfectly with Milan Badelj and Erick Pulgar. Unless the plan is to rotate Berge and Badelj at the base of midfield, that money would probably be better spent on a couple of dependable players with lower profiles who can do a job off the bench.

That’s not really what we’re talking about here, though. What we talk about when we talk about Sander Berge is Rolando Bianchi. It’s Pedro Obiang, or Manolo Gabbiadini, or anyone else. It’s a labyrinth that’s been waiting since the beginning of time for us to discover it, or perhaps that hasn’t been built until the instant we conceive it. It’s a library with no beginning and no end, just shelves after shelves after shelves of books which, after an eternity, you realize are all the same story no matter what they profess to be about. What we talk about when we talk about Sander Berge is ouroboros.