If Marco Benassi’s absolute clunker today proved anything, it’s that Fiorentina desperately needs help in midfield. Gaetano Castrovilli and Erick Pulgar seem to have nailed down spots for Giuseppe Iachini’s team, but Benassi demonstrated his limitations today, while Milan Badelj is out of favor and Szymon Żurkowski remains nothing more than a rumor. Following the recent departures of Sebastian Cristoforo and Bryan Dabo, it’s clear that midfield is where the shortfall is (hence the Alfred Duncan rumors). The newest name to pop up as a possible target is Sofyan Amrabat of Hellas Verona.
The 23-year-old Dutch-born Moroccan is having a fine season with the Mastini, starting 16 of 17 matches and playing the full 90 in 12 of them. He’s mostly worked as a midfield terrier, buzzing around the center of the pitch and harassing opponents relentlessly. Given that Hellas under Ivan Jurić play a similar style to the Viola these days—a 3-man defense and non-traditional strikers—the switch probably wouldn’t strain him too much.
The problem, of course, is that he’s a not a short-term fix. He’s on loan in Verona from Club Brugge and has appeared in competitions for both sides this year, which means he wouldn’t be eligible to join another team until June. Until the past day or two, everyone assumed that he’d be joining Napoli, with whom his agent had held extensive meetings. Gianluca di Marzio, however, reports that Fiorentina may pip the Partenopei to his signature, as their recent acquisition of Diego Demme (a former Viola target and similar player) may indicate.
Amrabat has enjoyed an excellent debut season in Italy so far and has the talent to play a valuable role for Fiorentina. However, he profiles rather similarly to Pulgar: a busy, disruptive force in the middle who’s rather limited in possession at this stage. He’s a safe rather than incisive passer, and while he can dribble out of trouble, he’s not the type to break down a defense like Castrovilli. He does have experience playing as a defender, but his natural position seems to be in midfield. And for a reputed €18 million, that’s an awful lot to shell out on a guy who seems to overlap with a certain Chilean.