In a release posted this morning, Fiorentina announced that they’ve sold midfielder Christian Nørgaard to English Championship outfit Brentford for a fee the Evening Standard reports as €3.17 million, which represents a slight loss on the €3.5 million the Viola paid for him, but there seem to be clauses in the transfer that could push the deal as high as €4 million. He’s signed a 4-year contract with the Bees.
The 25-year-old Dane arrived in Florence from Brøndby this summer as a replacement for Milan Badelj, who’d joined Lazio on a Bosman after years of hemming and hawing about signing an extension with the Viola. It was Nørgaard’s second try outside of his home nation following a failed stint at Hamburg; the thought was that he’d jumped to a big league too early and was now prepared, after a season with the domestic giants and some work in the Europa League, to take the next step.
Unfortunately, it never quite worked out. Stefano Pioli didn’t ever seem to trust him too much, despite handing him a debut in the season-opening 6-1 demolition of Chievo Verona while Jordan Veretout was suspended. The Frenchman, however, dropped in to the regista position we’d thought would be Nørgaard’s and never relinquished it, dropping the new acquisition to a bench role.
Nørgaard will finish his Fiorentina career with just 323 minutes played spread across 6 appearances (4 starts). While he was never catastrophic, he often seemed to be a passenger, indicating that the preseason whispers that he was too slow in possession to really be an asset may have had some truth to them: he spent a lot of time making safe passes back to his defenders.
It seems likely that the faster, more physical nature of the English second tier will suit him, as his physical characteristics and solid positioning in front of the defense were always adequate at worst. It’s a shame to see a player leave after just one season, but you got the feeling he was never long for Florence after missing 14 of the first 15 games. We wish him luck on his next venture.