Gaetano Castrovilli, Alfred Duncan, and Erick Pulgar make for an excellent trio of midfielders in any setup, possessing a wide range of complementary qualities that have already turned them into one of the most solid departments for Fiorentina. Depth, however, remains an issue: Milan Badelj doesn’t have the mobility to play the holding role under Giuseppe Iachini, and Marco Benassi is, well, Marco Benassi. While we remain high on Szymon Żurokowski’s potential, he hasn’t proved himself yet, and after him, there aren’t a lot of youth prospects who seem ready to step in. Sofyan Amrabat will help next year, but assuming that Badelj and/or Benassi moves on this summer (which seems likely), that’s still an understaffed area.
A player like Bayer Leverkusen’s Charles Aránguiz may be a perfect solution. His contract runs out at the end of the season so he’ll be available as a free agent, and at 30 years of age, he should have plenty of life in his legs. He’s been at Leverkusen since 2015 and has been an ever-present for die Werkself and for the Chilean national team, with whom he's made 78 appearances. This season, he’s started 17 of 25 matches, scoring 2 goals and notching 6 assists, and hasn’t made fewer than 29 first team appearances since his first year in Germany.
The biggest question mark is his fitness: he’s struggled with foot and hamstring issues this year and knee injuries last year. However, when healthy, he’s a top notch operator in the middle. A dogged and tireless runner who can also play the holding role—a job we’d expect him to take in Florence—he likes to spray the ball around the pitch and can wiggle out of trouble, and he can hit a banger every once in awhile.
He seems like a perfect rotational option for Pulgar, as he’d add more guile in possession and more drive from deeper midfield positions at the expense of some of his fellow Chilean’s terrier nature. Given the recent history of success of Chilean midfielders in Florence—David Pizarro, Matías Fernández, and Pulgar—he would likely fit right in.
Now that we’ve fully buried the lede, let’s talk about what a move to Florence would actually look like for him. In an interview with Fox Sports, his agent Fernando Felicevich—who also represents Pulgar, indicating that there are channels of communication open between him and the club—said that Fiorentina, Atalanta, and Atletico Madrid had all requested information on the player, but hadn’t made an offer or talked numbers yet. That’s some tough competition for a good player, and, at 30, Aránguiz may want to focus on European football more than helping a struggling team regain domestic form. Still, though, if this is the type of player that the Viola are interested in, we’re quite happy: he’s talented, experienced, and in his prime. Those are qualities that this young squad badly needs.