According to the Corriere dello Sport (as reported by Football Italia), Vincenzo Montella has decided that Giovanni Simeone needs a more experienced partner up top to bring out his best. As a result, Fiorentina are reportedly weighing a move for either West Ham United man Javier Hernandez (Chicharito to his friends) or Boca Juniors star Dario Benedetto.
Chicharito, 31, endured an uneven season for the Hammers last time out, scoring 8 goals and notching 3 assists in 28 appearances; those figures gave him a goal/assist every 143 minutes in all competitions. ESPN believes that he wants out, though, and has plans to return to Spain, although Austin FC of MLS has also been mentioned as a possible destination. It would probably require something in the neighborhood of €12 million to sign him.
As Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer, he certainly knows how to finish moves, and the slower pace of Serie A would probably suit his style a lot more than the rush of the Premier League at this point in his career. While he’s probably not a Giuseppe Rossi-level poacher, he is the sort of nippy, clever forward who’s got a knack for being in the right place at the right time to redirect an errant ball into the back of the net; I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone score as many goals without using his feet or his head. However, there’ve been questions about his effort levels and fitness in England, which could add the sort of headache Montella would rather avoid.
Benedetto (also known as La Pipa, which is a very good nickname) has also recently raised the possibility of leaving his current club, indicating a desire to prove himself in Europe; at 29, this is probably his last real chance to cross the Atlantic. While Marseille have supposedly enquired about him, GetFrenchFootballNews claims that they don’t have the money to trigger his €21 million release clause.
While that’s a pretty big sum of money to spend on a guy who’ll turn 30 before the end of next season, a combination of the player’s desire to leave and Boca’s desire to get something for him before his contract runs out in 2021 could create some sort of discount. He could well be worth it, too, as he’s got everything you’d want in a striker: pace, technique, a good feel for where to be, strength, and an ability to score from inside or outside the box with either foot. He’s a star and it’s surprising that no European side has moved for him yet.
While either of these players would bring a proven goalscorer to Florence, it’s also worth remembering that Montella mentioned in a recent press conference that he intended to play a 4-3-3, possibly with Federico Chiesa at center forward. That would seem to put the kibosh on both finding a strike partner for Cholito or indicate that Cousin Vinnie wasn’t telling the whole truth. Either way, we’re not totally convinced by either of these rumors, which seem to rely on a lot of circumstantial evidence to connect the players to Fiorentina rather than a reliable source. But, as ever, who knows?