We’ve been hearing for a couple of months that Fiorentina planned on extending Cristiano Biraghi, and it turns out that there was something behind those rumors after all. The club announced today that it had inked the Italy international to a new deal that will run until 2024, keeping the man from Cernusco sul Naviglio in Florence until he’s 32.
It’s quite a reversal for the leftback, who left the Viola last season to return (for the third time) on loan to boyhood club Inter Milan. Despite a relatively solid season, the Nerazzurri brass decided not to buy him outright (likely due to the financial hit of coronavirus), leading to a rather awkward return to Tuscany. However, Biraghi is nothing if not deeply professional, and he kept his head down and got back to work.
He’s been one of the bright spots for an uneven Fiorentina this year and undoubtedly represents an upgrade over Dalbert on the left wing. With a goal and 3 assists from his 5 Serie A appearances, you could argue that he’s the most productive wingback in the league. While he’s not the most athletic or most naturally-gifted player in the world, his non-stop motor, intelligent movement on the overlap, composed decision making, and excellent crossing ability mean that he’s always a valuable member of the squad.
Initially bought from Pescara for just €2.5 million back in 2017, he’s steadily improved in the 3 years since, clawing his way into Roberto Mancini’s Italy plans. While he’s not as dynamic as, say, Dalbert, Biraghi offers consistency in every sense of the word: he almost never has an off day while bringing the same effort and product no matter what. That sort of lunch pail attitude is what you want from your senior players, and he should help set an example for his younger peers while growing into a leadership role as well.
We’d guess that the deal gives him a pay raise to somewhere around €1.5 million a year from his previous €1.2 and probably adds some bonuses related to performance and national team selection. It’s a fine expenditure and announces to the world that the Viola are willing to pay their productive senior players. A deal for Germán Pezzella would confirm that beyond a doubt and should be next on the club’s agenda, but for now we’re satisfied with getting Italy international Cristiano Biraghi tied down for another 4 years.