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Fiorentina’s reported interest in Spinazzola doesn’t make sense

The Viola’s left flank for next year is mightily uncertain, but the Roma fullback sure doesn’t look like a realistic answer

Juventus Press Conference Photo by Daniele Badolato - Juventus FC/Juventus FC via Getty Images

At first blush, it may seem odd that Fiorentina is reportedly interested in AS Roma leftback Leonardo Spinazzola. After all, the Viola have Dalbert on loan from Inter Milan (and a reported handshake deal on a right of first refusal to bring the Brazilian back next year), as well as Cristiano Biraghi, who’s likely to return following a disappointing loan session with the Nerazzurri. However, if Dalbert doesn’t come back and Biraghi leaves again—not unlikely if Daniele Pradè decides that the Italian doesn’t fit the project, which would leave Lorenzo Venuti, Aleksa Terzić, and maybe Luca Ranieri capable of playing at wingback.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of Spinazzola if you’re a Fiorentina fan, not least that he came up through the Siena academy before moving to Juventus, where he stayed on the books for the next 7 years (although he made just 12 appearances and was loaned out to Empoli, Lanciano, Siena, Atalanta, Vicenza, and Perugia). He’s struggled with injuries throughout his career, particularly with his knees and hamstrings. He’s naturally right-footed, so dropping him on the left may not be the solution to the issues with width in attack. He cost the Giallorossi nearly €30 million just last year, so he’ll probably cost a lot. He makes €3 million annually on a contract that runs until 2024.

On the other hand, Spinazzola possesses plenty of desirable attributes. While he’s not a burner, he’s quick enough and, more importantly, he’s got the fitness to run forever. He’s decent on the ball, particularly when crossing, and solid enough defensively. He’s got the versatility to play on either side—he mostly supplanted Alessandro Florenzi at rightback this year and has also been Aleksandar Kolarov’s primary backup. He’s a solid fullback and may be even better as a wingback. He’s got a wealth of experience under systems similar to Giuseppe Iachini’s.

Despite these positive attributes, though, it’s hard to imagine him swapping shirts after just a year in the capital, especially as he’s been invaluable to the Romans—16 starts in 22 appearances with a goal and 2 assists—and has even worked his way into Roberto Mancini’s Italy setup, helping the Azzurri qualify for the Euros with an assist in his 3 appearances in the qualifiers (he might have played every match but for various injuries); he’s likely going to be in the squad if the tournament actually happens this summer.

In short, he’s not he sort of player that Fiorentina has targeted in the Rocco Commisso era so far: youngsters who a) are currently injured, b) play for rather unfashionable teams, or c) were hyped up as teens but have failed to meet expectations since; or steady veterans who are out of contract. Quite frankly, we do not believe this rumor and will not until there is a mountain of compelling evidence.