Minus Gaetano Castrovilli, Fiorentina’s midfield looks shambolic. Erick Pulgar is a fantastic destroyer but won’t consistently create opportunities in open play. Marco Benassi remains an enigma capable of match-winning moments but is more likely to end up on the side of a milk carton. Milan Badelj has some creativity and verve in possession, but his legs seem to have deserted him. Maybe Szymon Żurkowski exists? We’re scared to check in case we affect the outcome. No matter what, though, that’s a very thin department in the most important area of the pitch.
We’ve been waiting for Daniele Pradè to address the midfield all January; while he’s shuffled on the likes of Bryan Dabo and Sebastian Cristoforo, who both needed a change of scenery, it’s left the engine room rather bare. So when you hear that the Viola are in for Genoa midfielder Francesco Cassata, it’s hard not to be a little bit relieved that there could be another player available there even if he’s not exactly a household name.
In fairness to Cassata, he’s a promising player. He’s got good technique on the ball and can skip past a defender, and he can play the final pass as well. He’s recently pushed himself into the first XI for Genoa and shown enough to register as an interesting prospect at 22 years old following a good showing at Frosinone last year and a few appearances the year before that at Sassuolo, who still own his rights.
Cassata’s far from a finished product, though, and certainly wouldn’t displace Castrovilli, Pulgar, or Benassi in the XI. His most concerning shortcoming at the moment is the number of fouls he commits: he’s collected 6 bookings (and an expulsion) in just 856 league minutes. Too, he spent a couple of years at Juventus—never making a senior appearance—and he cost Sassuolo €7 million in 2017, so you know the Neroverdi will be looking to turn a profit on him.
Perhaps most telling is that he shares an agent with Riccardo Sottil (as well as former Fiorentina players Gianluca Mancini, Marco Sportiello, Pierluigi Gollini, and Leonardo Capezzi), who just re-upped his contract; the same agency works with purported Viola targets Edoardo Goldaniga and Ahmed Benali. That’s probably where this chatter sprouted from, if we’re being honest. While Cassata could well become a top-notch pro in Serie A at some point, he doesn’t look worth the trouble and the cash it would take to get Genoa to cut his loan short and Sassuolo to sell him at a reasonable price.