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Bosman brainstorming: 5 rightbacks Fiorentina could sign

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Despite spending big on the position last year, the Viola could still be in the market for a top-notch backup.

RSC Anderlecht v Fenerbahce - UEFA Europa League - Group D Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Continuing our series about potential Bosman signings for Fiorentina this summer, let’s shift our focus to right fullback (or wingback, as the case may be). Pol Lirola is pretty clearly set as the starter and has started to show the form that made him a star at Sassuolo. Lorenzo Venuti is an adequate backup (and an awesome dude) but clearly uncomfortable as a wingback, while Riccardo Sottil simply isn’t a wingback. Martín Cáceres and Nikola Milenković could also step in if the defense shifts to a back four. Youngsters Gabriele Ferrarrini and Edoardo Pierozzi, while promising, are nowhere near to being ready for the first team yet.

The focus, then, is probably on finding someone who’s a solid wingback but won’t necessarily want or expect a starting role over Lirola. Finding someone who’s scheme versatile (can play fullback and wingback) and reasonably cheap would certainly be the preference.

As before, the rules are simple: the player has to be out of contract at season’s end and have some reasonable chance of actually signing for Fiorentina (so no Thomas Meunier, for example).

Nahuel Molina

The 22-year-old Argentine grew up in the Boca Juniors system but, after being denied a bigger contract following an impressive loan spell at Rosario, he’s determined to find a new club. There’s been some interest in Europe—Lyon are probably the most notable—and it’s easy to see why: Molina has all the attributes you want in a fullback. His pace, quickness, and stamina let him keep up with most wingers and should keep him from looking too shellshocked in his first move outside of his homeland. He’s not the typical, blood-and-thunder Argentine fullback, either, as he’s been booked just 4 times in 64 professional appearances, highlighting his reading of the game and intelligent positioning. While he’s not a great crosser yet, he’s got a good eye for a pass to split the defense. His greatest weakness is probably that he’s not much of a dribbler, which could limit his impact going forward, although he’s got plenty of time to improve. In short, he sounds like a great option to develop behind Lirola, although he may want to move somewhere that will guarantee him more minutes. If he’s ready for Europe, though, and wants to ease himself in, Florence would be a great landing spot.

Pros: talent, potential, scheme fit

Cons: non-EU status, language, playing time

Likelihood that he’s a target: 50%

Alan Mozo

The 23-year-old Pumas star has openly declared his desire to secure a move to Europe, so expect to hear a lot more about him in the coming months. He’s stagnated a bit over the past year, so a move should do him good. That said, he’s an excellent prospect, particularly going forward: his pace, passing, and crossing are all above average, and he’s very sharp both with the ball at his feet and timing his runs forward. He’ll need time to learn the defensive side of his trade, particularly in Italy, as his concentration can lapse at times and he frequently worries too much about getting forward to the detriment of his duties at the back. All things considered, he looks like the obvious successor to Miguel Layún at fullback for el Tri and should have a long and successful career. Learning the defensive side of the game under an expert like Giuseppe Iachini while backing up another top prospect in Lirola would be a great step for him, although he may feel more ambitious and should have offers that from big teams or smaller ones that will guarantee him playing time. If he wants to split the difference, though, Fiorentina would be an excellent spot.

Pros: talent, attack, scheme fit

Cons: non-EU status, language, playing time, defense

Likelihood that he’s a target: 50%

Andy Najar

The 27-year-old Honduran international is contracted to Anderlecht but hasn’t played for them this year; in fact, he’s currently training with old outfit DC United as he tries to regain fitness following a serious knee injury suffered in the Gold Cup last year. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be returning to Washington, though, and he could be the sort of low-cost signing who can really add something to a team like Fiorentina. He’s been in Europe since 2013 and has competed in continental competitions every season, so he’s got the experience you want, and he’s also got the qualities and versatility to be a really good bench option. He’s got good pace and is very good on the ball, capable of carrying it forward and delivering good crosses. He’s also solid enough at the back, although his size is a slight liability. If he wants to continue his dream in Europe, Fiorentina would be a great move for him, as it would let him ease back into work without the pressure of starting every match. He’d also be a relatively economical option. The downside is that he doesn’t have the potential for improvement that Molina and Mozo do, and he has no ties to Italy, although Rocco Commisso could maybe sway a player who moved to the US at 13.

Pros: experience, scheme fit, salary

Cons: injury history, language

Likelihood that he’s a target: 50%