According to AS Roma fansite ForzaRoma.info, Fiorentina have arrived at an agreement with the Lupi to pay €5 million for 20-year-old winger Mirko Antonucci in January. While we’re a bit skeptical about the source—with respect to ForzaRoma, we’re not sure how many stories they’ve broken, although we don’t doubt that they’ve got some contacts at the club—this one’s been picked up in various other spots as well, including the also-not-super-reliable-but-still-worth-monitoring Calciomercato.com, which has provided independent corroboration.
It’d be a steal of a deal for the Viola because Antonucci is a very good player. He’s ready to contribute in the first tier right now and has plenty of room to grow as a player, too. Just as happy to play on the wing as through the middle, he’s got a neat first touch and knows how to keep the ball rolling quickly. He loses his composure occasionally, particularly in front of goal, but he’s a very creative passer who can set the table for his teammates and, as he matures, the goals should start to come, given that he consistently gets himself in the right places. While we’re not quite as ambitious as our colleagues over at Chiesa di Totti, who recently compared him to Ángel Di María, we think that Antonucci should have, at minimum, a long and productive top flight career on the wing. His ceiling is much higher, though.
Stuck behind the likes of Javier Pastore, Nicolò Zaniolo, Diego Perotti, Patrick Kluivert, and Cengiz Ünder, he’s made just 4 appearances (all off the bench) this season. The latter pair look to be the future for the Giallorossi in attack, leaving Antonucci out in the cold. He spent the second half of last year on loan at Pescara, where he showed flashes of excellence without ever really delivering an end product, although he did enough to mostly keep Riccardo Sottil out of the starting lineup.
And there’s the problem. With Sottil, Pedro, Dušan Vlahović, Tòfol Montiel, and Bobby Duncan competing for space behind Federico Chiesa and Franck Ribery or Kevin-Prince Boateng up top, there doesn’t seem to be much space for a player like Antonucci. He probably can’t play deep enough to work in central midfield, so his only option would be as a striker in Montella’s 3-5-2. But his struggles in that role for the Delfini last year and the logjam of young talent fighting for the same spot would seem to render him superfluous for the foreseeable future, barring a major roster shakeup in January.
As you can see, we’re not quite sure what to make of this one. If (and that’s a moderate-sized if) the reports are true, you have to be thrilled with getting a talented U20 international who’s won some silverware at the Primavera level and demonstrated his capability in Serie A. But you also have to wonder why Daniele Pradè would bring another developmental prospect in when he’s already stocked the cupboard with so many others. In short, we’re not sure what to think of this one.