It’s been a weirdly quiet transfer window for Fiorentina, despite the usual crazy passel of rumors; the only arrival so far is Patrick Cutrone, who’s a great addition but certainly doesn’t plug the holes in the squad. The midfield remains understaffed and light on talent, while the defense could use some reinforcement as well. That’s why we’re so surprised that Gianluca di Marzio reports that Fiorentina are closing in on Genoa striker Christian Kouamé.
It’s not because the 22-year-old Kouamé lacks talent; in fact, he’s a fantastic young prospect who’s already proven to be a useful forward in Serie A. He’s got good pace and he’s already a confident finisher, as well as an explosive leaping ability to let him flick on long passes or score from crosses. He’s also pretty good on the ball and shows intelligent movement off the ball.
Those qualities are why he’d bagged 5 goals and 3 assists in 11 Serie A matches before blowing out his cruciate ligament on international duty with the Côte d’Ivoire U23s in November, which means he’ll be out until summer and thus unavailable for the remainder of the year, which means he won’t add more stress on a crowded forward rotation that already includes Cutrone, Federico Chiesa, Dušan Vlahović, and eventually Franck Ribery.
The deal is reportedly a straight up purchase for €10 million initially; if he meets certain performance bonuses, it could rise another €5 million. Genoa will also get a portion of any future transfer fee, as well as Riccardo Sottil on loan for the rest of the year; it should be a good landing spot for the young winger to learn how to operate up top under the tutelage of Goran Pandev.
He was previously linked with moves to Crystal Palace and West Ham United in the Premier League, but the injury seems to have killed their interest. Florence seems like a great step for him, as he’ll have room to grow with a young team. He’s also quite familiar with Tuscany; his first club after coming to Italy from the Ivory Coast was Prato, just 20 km from Florence.
We can only figure out two real reasons for this move, and neither is particularly encouraging for fans. The first is that Kouamé is a replacement for an imminently-departing attacker; looking at the situation, that would have to be Chiesa. While they’re stylistically very different players, they’re both explosive athletes who can create their own scoring opportunities (although knee ligament injuries can sap that explosiveness real quick).
There’s also a chance that this is a Pedro situation: Fiorentina buy an injured young striker at a discount, then quickly flip him for a profit. While there’s no shame in being a selling club, becoming a middleman for a pittance from other clubs is a step too far. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to be upset that the Fiorentina is looking to bring in young talent. It’s just a shame that said talent doesn’t seem to fit the glaring needs on this roster.