Much of Fiorentina’s transfer strategy this year seems to revolve around loans, whether that’s bringing players in on temporary deals or buying them and sending them back to their original clubs until next year. While this policy gives Pantaleo Corvino a lot of flexibility in building his roster for next season, it can be very frustrating for fans trying to figure out what the Viola roster will look like after this term. However, if a report from calcionews24.com is to be believed, Corvino’s plans are slowly coming into focus, and they involve both Luis Muriel and Edimilson Fernandes.
Muriel is a no-brainer purchase. Although he’s cooled off a bit in the past couple of weeks, he’s scored 3 goals in 4 Serie A matches since joining from Sevilla on 3 January, exhibiting exhilarating pace and wonderful technique on the ball. He’s proved to be the balance to Federico Chiesa that Marko Pjaca was supposed to provide, forcing opposing defenses to account for him on the opposite wing and thus saving Fede from double- and triple-teams. He’s been, in a word, tremendous, and the reported €14 million fee to make his move permanent seems like a no-brainer, especially with jerseys 7, 10, and maybe 11 opening up next year.
Fernandes is a tricker proposition. The 22-year-old Swiss midfielder was a popular whipping boy earlier this year as his rather clueless displays in the middle left a whole lot to be desired, but he seems to be improving of late, albeit rather unsteadily. While he’s got all the tools you could possibly want in a midfielder—strength, pace, work rate, defensive ability, passing and shooting range—his decision-making in attack, defense, and simple possession have occasionally been jaw-droppingly bad. However, there’s no denying the physical skills he brings to the table, and the €7 million the Hammers would reportedly require to sell him on in the summer seems a relative pittance in the modern market.
Both of these moves have some repercussions around the roster, too. Muriel’s impending stay probably spells doom for at least one (and probably both) of Pjaca and Kevin Mirallas, and could even throw Giovanni Simeone’s future into question if Stefano Pioli and the rest of the brain trust see Muriel as a striker rather than a winger. Depending on that role, we could see more of Dušan Vlahović or Tòfol Montiel next year as well.
The Fernandes situation, meanwhile, could indicate that Corvino and company aren’t convinced that Hamed Junior Traorè and Szymon Żurkowski are ready for major roles next year. Keeping Edi around for an extra year could help take the pressure off the pair of youngsters, who then wouldn’t be forced into bigger roles. With Gerson likely to return to AS Roma and Bryan Dabo clearly not in Pioli’s long-term plans, it sure seems like there’s a spot in the engine room available.