Dušan Vlahović has enjoyed a slightly uneven season for Fiorentina thus far. His finishing and movement in the area, particularly against deeper defenses, remain works in progress. His link-up play could use improvement. He’s not nearly as good in the air as you’d expect from such a large human. Sometimes he just drifts out of games.
None of these flaws are enough to conceal the fact that Vlahović is perhaps the most exciting young striker in Italy right now. Finding guys with his combination of size, pace, and skill on the ball is like tracking down a unicorn. Combine that with the reminder that the young Serbian is just 20 years old and still improving—heck, he’s come on in jumps and bounds just since the start of the season—and it’s not hard to see why he’s been widely subjected to Zlatan Ibrahimović comparisons this year. Given that Dušan has also demonstrated an ability to just take over a game occasionally (his late brace against Monza, that goal to snatch a point at Inter Milan, a brace against Sampdoria that could have easily been a poker), he’s already useful and is obviously going to be dominant very soon.
It’s no real surprise, then, that he’s been linked to a big-money move away from the Viola this summer. AS Roma have been one of the favorite destinations for journalists who see him as the heir to Edin Džeko—himself thought to be leaning towards an exit from the Giallorossi—and the chatter got so loud that the capital club were forced to issue a statement to ANSA denying that its captain may leave. The Viola starlet already denied the links back in February as his agent hinted at a big contract extension.
Vlahović poked a pretty large hole in that story, though, in an interview with Stadio yesterday. He explicitly ruled out a move this summer, explaining that after a difficult year—i.e. early struggles to adjust to Serie A, coronavirus—he wanted to repay the faith the club and the fans put in him by starring alongside Federico Chiesa. While that may seem to leave the door open for the big forward to walk in 2021 or later, the transfer market is so fluid that planning that far ahead is completely pointless, so we’re not going to sweat it.
To wrap this up, let’s harken back to Valentine’s Day. Gaze deeply into Dušan’s eye and tell me you don’t want this man around.