We’re in a transfer window, so that must mean that someone somewhere has an exclusive scoop that Fiorentina are interested in Manolo Gabbiadini. This time around, it’s the generally-reliable Alfredo Pedullà, who believes that the Viola are interested in a swap deal with Sampdoria getting Giovanni Simeone in exchange. While it may make sense in an abstract world, such a deal would be very surprising.
While Gabbiadini seems like the sort of mercurial long-range goalscorer who can thrive under Vincenzo Montella (see Iličić, Josip), he’s a pale imitation of the Slovenian: both are tall, slightly awkward characters with a class left boot capable of scoring from anywhere when cutting inside from the right. Whereas Lurch is a wonderful dribbler and creative passer, as well surprisingly adept with his right peg as well, Gabbiadini hasn’t shown an ability to do much beyond cut inside from the right and let fly in recent years.
Simeone, meanwhile, has reportedly expressed interest in moving out of Florence, possibly due to the lack of confidence Montella seems to have in him and his subsequent fall behind Dušan Vlahović on the depth chart. Still only 24 years old, the Argentine has talent but suffered an abysmal outing last year and would probably benefit from a new setting, especially as Eusebio di Francesco’s Samp could be the sort of outfit that would bring out his best.
So far, so good, right? Here’s where things start going wrong. First of all, Gabbiadini makes a lot of money; according to Capology, he’s at nearly €3 million annually, which is nearly a million more than Cholito. Rocco Commisso doesn’t seem scared to shell out some salary, but that’s a lot for a guy with numerous injury problems who can charitably be described as drifting in and out of games sometimes. He’s also turning 28 this season, which makes him a fair amount older than Simeone.
Second, let’s look at the context. The Blucerchiati paid €11.9 million for Gabbiadini in January, so it’s hard to believe that they’d already be this eager to get rid of him. While Fabio Quagliarella is locked in at striker in EdF’s putative 4-3-3, there aren’t a lot of guys on the roster who fit on the right wing, and EdF may see something of Domenico Berardi in Manolo, especially since he managed to score 4 goals and notch 2 assists in 18 appearances last year, giving him something to build on.
Next, it’s doubtful that Simeone sees Samp as a palatable destination, as he’d be scrapping with highly-rated prospect Federico Bonazzoli for a role as Quagliarella’s backup; a club like Cagliari might be a better fit for him if he’s willing to reverse his alleged rejection of the Sardinians from a week or two ago.
Finally, while Gabbiadini’s a well-known name in Italy, he doesn’t really move the needle outside of the peninsula, as he’s best known to the English-speaking world as a Southampton flop. Given Rocco Commisso’s apparent desire to grab a big signing, it doesn’t seem especially likely that Daniele Pradè and Joe Barone will dedicate a lot of time or resources to a guy who may not materially improve the team on the pitch or raise the profile off it.
Gabbiadini is represented by Pagliari and Minieri, an agency with lots of Viola ties—their clients include Gaetano Castrovilli as well as ex-men Jacopo Petriccione, Filippo Bandinelli, and Luca Lezzerini. They also work with Kevin Bonifazi, the Torino defender who’s been tagged as a Fiorentina target for months. We’d guess that the contacts between the clubs through this company have given rise to this swap rumor more than anything, although, as always, we’re willing to acknowledge that we may be wrong.