After seeing a previous bid rejected, Fiorentina have convinced Liverpool to sell striker Bobby Duncan for €2 million, bringing an end to a rather operatic transfer saga. The 18-year-old will likely spend most of his time suiting up for the Primavera this year, but a 3-year contract means that Daniele Pradè probably expects him to break into the first team by next year. Duncan will be just the second English player in Viola history, after Micah Richards spent the 2014-2015 season on loan.
This will be Duncan’s third club in three years, as he forced a move from Manchester City ahead of last year in hopes of finding more playing time. While he was prolific in the reserve league for the Reds, notching 25 goals and 8 assists across 36 appearances in all competitions, he never seemed to surpass other prospects like Rhian Brewster in the hierarchy and thus opted to move again.
His agent Saif Rubie hit out at Liverpool last week, accusing the Merseysiders of bullying his client, and apparently irritated Jürgen Klopp and company so much that they refused to deal with him; Duncan has since sacked Rubie, allowing his agency to negotiate the move to Florence.
If that all sounds like a lot of trouble, we can hope that, with Rubie out of the picture, Duncan will settle in quietly with the Primavera and spend a year acclimating to life in Italy. For Emiliano Bigica, he should be a good replacement for Dušan Vlahović, as the English U18 international is probably a step up from Nino Kukovec.
Duncan could well be worth all the trouble, as he’s got the makings of a very good player.He has decent pace and, for his height (176 cm/5’10), a low center of gravity that lets him quickly change direction and hold off defenders more effectively than his build would have you think. He’s decent on the ball, capable of getting by his man and occasionally finding a good pass, but he is, first and foremost, a finisher with a knack for finding space in the box and putting the ball in the back of the net, whether that be from crosses, through balls, or just generally poking his foot out in a scramble and getting the ball where it needs to go.
Again, it’s unlikely that he’ll make an impact this season with the senior side: he’s 18 and moving to a new country with a new language and a very different style of soccer than what he’s known. However, we think that he could wind up being a very good player for Fiorentina down the road, and will definitely be keeping an eye on him.