As we breathlessly await the first signing of the Rocco Commisso era, it’s hard to say which direction Fiorentina should move. A midfielder? A striker? A winger? A rightback? A goalkeeper? There’s no shortage of needs in this team, but central defense would probably be the only area you’d think doesn’t need reinforcement: between Germán Pezzella, Nikola Milenković, Vitor Hugo, and Federico Ceccherini (along with youth prospects like Petko Hristov and Georgios Antzoulas, who probably aren’t ready for the big time yet), the cabinet seems quite full.
However, when you get a chance to grab a player like Tin Jedvaj, you take it. The Croatia international apparently wants out of Bayer Leverkusen after failing to unseat Jonathan Tah, Sven Bender, and Aleksandar Dragović, and he’ll likely get his wish. Fiorentina have popped up as a possible destination, according to the not-super-reliable TuttoMercatoWeb (who are referencing a story from German outlet Kicker that we can’t find), along with Celta Vigo.
Serie A fans may recall Jedvaj as a former AS Roma prospect who joined the Lupi from Dinamo Zagreb back for €5 million as a 17-year-old back in 2013. He never really settled in with the Giallorossi, who sold him onto Leverkusen 2 years later for €7 million. He’s reportedly been frustrated with his deployment; the player prefers to play in the heart of defense, but he’s been used as a fullback for the most part.
That versatility is one of his most enticing attributes. Not the fastest defender out there, he reads the game well and loves a crunching tackle. He’s also decent on the ball, generally eschewing big hoofs upfield in favor of keeping the ball as simply as possible. A back three of him, Pezzella, and Milenković would give the Viola one of the league’s best rearguards.
The price, however, is tough to figure. Celta probably need a centerback more than Fiorentina (although they do employ ex-Viola enforcer Facundo Roncaglia) and so may be willing to spend more. On the other hand, the Tuscan outfit may have the inside track with Jedvaj’s representation; he employs the same agency as Carlos Sánchez. A fee of around €8 million seems fair to all involved, as he’s under contract until 2023.
While there’s some risk in signing Jedvaj—he’s missed at least 57 games due to injury since 2014—he’s a 23-year-old with Champions League experience and 20 caps (and 2 goals) for the World Cup runners up. While we’re not going to buy that purple 16 shirt with his name on it until we hear from some other sources, this could be one to keep an eye on in the coming days.