Two weeks ago, Sassuolo rightback Pol Lirola told reporters “it’s time to switch clubs” during pregame interviews before a clash with the Italy U21s. Now that he’s hoisted the trophy, he’s likely to turn his attention to his domestic career, and according to Gianluca di Marzio, that switch could mean a move to Fiorentina is forthcoming: the Viola have apparently made a €10 million offer to the Neroverdi for the 21-year-old Spaniard’s services.
Lirola grew up in the Espanyol system but was bought by Juventus (boo hiss) 3 years ago. He never made a senior appearance for the Bianconeri as he was loaned to Sassuolo within the month, and has made 93 appearances for the side since 2016, piling up 3 goals and 12 assists. Now that he’s introduced himself to a wider audience with some excellent performances in the U21 Euros, it’s no surprise that he’s been linked to the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli.
He’s far from being some overhyped YouTube sensation. As you’d expect from a fullback who grew up in Barcelona (albeit not in la Masia), he’s got fantastic technique and a really good appreciation of space. Tireless on the overlap and more than happy to beat his man out wide, he’s a clever passer and good crosser. While he’s not exactly a destroyer on the back foot, he’s got the pace to get into position and stop most wingers.
After losing out on Šime Vrsaljko to Sassuolo a few years ago, it makes a lot of sense that Fiorentina would target Lirola. While he may not have the defensive instincts or crossing ability that the Croatian possesses, he’s better in possession and is just 21, so you assume that he’s only going to improve.
He’d make a fantastic wingback for a team that’s young, hungry, and trying to keep possession; if that doesn’t sound like a Vincenzo Montella sort of player to you, well, we’re not sure what we can do for you. He’d be a fantastic pickup for €10 million, even if that seems a bit steep for a fullback, since his valuation is likely to double with another good year or two. We really hope this one’s a thing.