Sometimes writing about transfer rumors is pretty easy because the rumors write themselves. One example is the recent chatter about Fiorentina swapping wantaway midfielder Jordan Veretout for out-of-favor AC Milan striker Patrick Cutrone. With the Frenchman linked to a move away for months now and Cutrone at risk of falling even farther out of the striker rotation under new boss Marco Giampaolo, who’s said to favor Krzysztof Piątek and André Silva, it all just makes so much sense.
It makes sense, that is, on the surface. In reality, it’s a lot less likely for four reasons that we can see, and probably for myriad ones we can’t. First, straight player-for-player swaps are pretty rare. Even though Veretout and Cutrone’s salaries (reportedly €900,000 and €1.1 million, respectively) are similar, Jordan will likely earn a significant raise wherever he ends up; a comparable player like Matías Vecino earns €2.5 million, and Veretout will certainly be angling for a similar number. That throws the balance out of whack a bit and could affect Milan’s subsequent transfers in the framework of FFP (although that’s hardly been an issue for them in the past).
Second, Milan are still keen on Cutrone, as well they should be. He’s just 21 years old and hit double figures (mostly as a substitute) in Serie A only 2 years ago. They signed him to a contract extension that runs until 2023 that year. He’s also homegrown player, which increases his value to the Rossoneri. While he may well leave on loan this year to ensure that he gets plenty of playing time, we’d bet that even the chaotic brain trust in Milan won’t want to lose him, especially if Silva doesn’t pan out or Piątek gets sold. Too, Cutrone is very publically a fan of Milan and probably won’t want to leave.
Third, there are a lot of suitors for Veretout’s services, increasing the likelihood of a bidding war. Again, we’re not privy to all the information in the mercato, but when the likes of Napoli and Arsenal are consistently linked to a player by various sources, there’s likely at least a bit of fire to the smoke. Rocco Commisso, while not as hampered by Financial Fair Play as some owners due to his recent acquisition of the club, will still want to squeeze every last drop from Veretout’s sale in order to set the tone for his reign. It’s also likely that he’ll want straight cash, as opposed to a player (even a very promising young one), to offer Daniele Pradè the greatest flexibility in rebuilding the roster.
Fourth, there’s the looming specter of Milan’s European ban. While we’ve seen this whole song-and-dance before and are pretty certain that, despite their glaring financial violations, they’ll be playing in the Europa League next year, there’s always that miniscule chance that UEFA actually enforces its own rules and bans the Milanese outfit for a second consecutive year of FFP violations. While the case is set to be heard after the Europa League starts, minimizing the likelihood of them getting the boot, a player who’s got a chance to play in the Champions League with Napoli or with a bigger side in Arsenal would have to think twice.
Finally, Commisso wants a big splash at striker. He’s already said that finding a center forward is Fiorentina’s top priority, and we’ve seen that Rocco is a big fan of dramatic gestures. Cutrone is a good player but barely known outside of Italy; given the recent Viola sortie to Times Square in New York City, we’d expect someone a bit more recognizable to the casual fan to be the target.
The only real path we see to a swap here would be Milan buying Veretout and sending Cutrone on loan the other way for a year, along with a bundle of cash, but that’s not the sort of move that Commisso has sounded interested in. Of course, we could be wrong; we have been in the past. The odds, though, say that it just isn’t happening. While this kind of deal would make a bit of sense on the surface, it’s the sort of thing that works on FIFA and not really anywhere else.