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OFFICIAL: Biraghi-Dalbert swap is done

This sure feels like a stalling tactic by the Viola to give their youngsters another year to develop into full-time players.

Cristiano Biraghi of ACF Fiorentina in action during the pre... Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

They’ve both completed medicals, and now the swap deal between Fiorentina and Inter Milan that sends Dalbert to the former and Cristiano Biraghi to the latter has been announced. The terms of the deal are that both players will move on loan. Inter can pay €12 million at season’s end to keep Biraghi (and barring, like, the rapture, they will), while their Tuscan counterparts will send the Brazilian back to Milan at season’s end.

It’s a bit tough to stomach for Viola fans, who lose an Italy international and the man who was, at times, the second-most potent attacking weapon in the arsenal last year after Federico Chiesa, while getting a player who’s the same age, on a higher wage, and really hasn’t impressed during his two years in Italy. The Nerazzurri, on the other hand, must be thrilled: Biraghi’s work rate, intelligence, crossing, creativity, and general grinta are perfect for an Antonio Conte side, and he should slot in as the starter immediately.

The same can’t be said for Dalbert, as Gigliati boss Vincenzo Montella has already displayed some affection for 20-year-old Aleksa Terzić, who started the whole preseason and seemed to leapfrog the since-departed David Hancko in the pecking order. The Crvena zvezda youth product offers pace and excellent delivery, but even Montella acknowledges that his defensive contribution is limited, as evidenced by his benching in favor of Lorenzo Venuti in the opener against Napoli (yeah, that didn’t work out great either).

Dalbert, while sound enough defensively, hasn’t shown too much in attack since moving to Milan, so should offer the option for an intriguing platoon in the spot. If he can offer something besides raw pace (which he possesses in abundance) in the final third, he could wind up being a standout; otherwise, he’s probably set for a career as a rotation option. On the plus side, he does increase the neck tattoo quotient in the Fiorentina squad, which is clearly one of the priorities this year. This move does, however, give Terzić a year to improve his work on the back foot, which could vault the Serbian into stardom.

It’s hard to be too mad at Biraghi, who joins Inter for the third time in his career. It’s hard to imagine this time around being anything like the previous two stops, in which he made zero appearances for the senior side, but just in case, maybe we should keep a number 3 shirt open for him in Florence in case he spends another couple of fruitless years in Lombardy. Thanks for everything, Cristiano, and good luck in your next step. Welcome Dalbert, and good luck in your current one.