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Report: Żurkowski closing in on Empoli move

The young Polish midfielder hasn’t found space in Florence this year and needs minutes, so keeping him just down the road is a good solution.

Poland v Belgium: Group A - 2019 UEFA U-21 Championship Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

It’s been a difficult season for Szymon Żurkowski. Fiorentina bought him last year but left him on loan at Górnik Zabrze, so this has been his first year in Florence. Despite his obvious talent—13 appearances and 2 goals for the Poland U21s, as well impressing everyone we’ve talked to—he’s played all of 10 minutes across 2 appearances, failing to pull ahead of Marco Benassi or Milan Badelj and even dropping behind Sebastian Cristoforo.

That’s why the rumored loan move to Empoli for the rest of the year sounds like a good way to get him some minutes. The neighbors are struggling badly in Serie B after having their midfield pilfered this summer, so he seems like a lock to earn a major role pretty quickly, provided he can get on the same page.

Given the failure of Fiorentina to integrate Polish players in the past—Bartłomiej Drągowski spent years on the bench due to management blunders, Rafał Wolski was hyped up so much he never had a chance, Jakub Błaszczykowski was thrust into an unfamiliar role—the club needs to make sure it handles Żurkowski’s case right, not only to avoid losing a talented player but also to make sure that the Viola don’t develop a reputation for ruining Polish players.

It’s hard not to feel sort of bad for Żurkowski. The 22-year-old went from being the best player on his team in Poland to a forgotten man in a new country with a new language in his first career move away from home; it’s a huge step for anyone, and the difference between Serie A and the Ekstraklasa is massive. It sounds like any deal is on hold until Fiorentina brings in midfield reinforcements of their own (Alfred Duncan sounds like the most likely candidate), so let’s hope that Daniele Pradè moves fast and gets someone in so that Żurkowski can get some first team reps until the summer, then earn a role in Florence next year.