It took nearly a month, but Fiorentina have signed their first outfield player of the Rocco Commisso era (Pietro Terracciano’s been around for weeks), and that player is Kevin-Prince Boateng. The Viola will pay Sassuolo just €1 million for the 32-year-old Ghanaian, who’s signed what Gianluca di Marzio alleges is a 2-year contract worth around €1 million annually. Perhaps most importantly, the peripatetic footballer looks quite excited to be in Florence and even dropped in on training today.
It’s an absolute steal for a player who should have plenty left in the tank, despite a rather enigmatic loan spell at Barcelona of all places last year. While Catalunya didn’t agree with him, his qualities—physical strength, surprisingly quick feet, a sledgehammer of a shot, a knack for spectacular goals, the hunger and work-rate of a man a decade younger—should let him mesh seamlessly with Tuscany’s finest.
It’s unclear if he’ll play as a number 10, where he’s spent much of his career, or as an out-and-out striker. For Roberto de Zerbi’s Neroverdi last year, he excelled in the latter role, dropping deep to link play or flick the ball to onrushing wingers and allowing them space to wreak havoc in behind. While his goalscoring record (5 goals and an assist in 15 appearances last year in Italy) isn’t super-impressive, his presence was central to Sassuolo’s hot start. He also seemed to open space for Domenico Berardi, so expecting a similar effect for Federico Chiesa isn’t too far-fetched.
While there have been incidents that might lead one to believe that he’s not especially disciplined off the pitch, he seems to have settled down considerably over the past few years; in fact, he was a United Nations ambassador for anti-racism back in 2013, which doesn’t feel like a job for a loose cannon. If the rumors are to be believed, he chose Fiorentina because his wife Melissa Satta wanted to stay in her native Italy to raise their son Maddox Prince.
Whether Boateng plays as a striker, in midfield, or even on the wing, the Viola have gotten a veteran who’s seen it all and can still add some flair and impact on the pitch. Moreover, his penchant for entertainment—check out the Michael Jackson impression—should help keep everyone in the dressing room relaxed.
More importantly, bringing an established and decorated player to Florence serves as a statement of intent for Rocco Commisso and company. While we expect the transfer announcements to arrive thick and fast over the next few days, we’ll always have a soft spot for KPB now.