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Bosman brainstorming: 2 leftbacks Fiorentina could sign this summer

This may be the least settled position on the Viola roster will definitely need some investment, and free is a pretty good initial payment.

Atletico Madrid v Lokomotiv Moskva: Group D - UEFA Champions League Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Let’s keep this series about potential Bosman signings for Fiorentina this summer rolling with the leftbacks (fullbacks and/or wingbacks, take your pick). This may be the murkiest position group in the club right now. To reiterate the rules, I’m only looking at players who’ll be out of contract at season’s end and have some reasonable chance of actually signing for Fiorentina (so no Layvin Kurzawa, for example).

This is such a weird spot for the Viola right now. Dalbert started the season off looking world class but took a step back under Giuseppe Iachini; he doesn’t seem to relish the deeper, more defense-oriented role that the mister requires from a wingback. The only other options on the roster right now are Lorenzo Venuti and Aleksa Terzić. The former is, as previously discussed, better as a fullback than a wingback, and the latter just isn’t ready yet, so the depth is certainly an issue. Combined with Dalbert’s impending return to Inter Milan—even if there is a handshake agreement to give Fiorentina a shot to buy him, they may look elsewhere for a variety of reasons—things are very up in the air.

Cristiano Biraghi will likely return from Inter as well since he’s been unable to dislodge Kwadwo Asamoah for minutes, but he may also wind up moving on, given that he seemed to bid Florence a farewell this past summer. David Hancko and Luca Ranieri are both extremely promising youngsters but aren’t ready to be regular contributors in Serie A yet and neither seems like a natural wingback. In short, this is a spot I’d expect to see some investment, either for a starter or a quality reserve. The Bosman options, to be honest, are rather slim, but we’ll still address them here.

Dídac Vilà

Best known in Italy for a 5 year stint with AC Milan that saw him make a single competitive appearance for the club before being exiled for criticizing Massimiliano Allegri, he’s been back with boyhood club Espanyol since 2017 after bouncing around Spain and Greece. Now 30 years old, he’s not the fastest player in the world but has the requisite quickness to defend the flank. Defensively, he’s sharp enough, although his weakness in the air—he lost more aerial duels than any player in the 5 big European leagues this year—is a concern. He’s a good crosser and solid with the ball at his feet, preferring to move the ball quickly before running in on the overlap. He’s supposedly attracted some interest from teams on the Serie A/B border, so a return to Italy looks to be on the cards. While he wouldn’t be a good option as a starter, he’d probably be an upgrade on Venuti on the left side and would allow Lollo to focus on the right. He’d be a cheap option but wouldn’t really move the needle much.

Pros: language, cost, versatility

Cons: talent, age

Likelihood that he’s a target: 20%

Maciej Rybus

The 30-year-old Poland international says he’s leaving Lokomotiv Moscow at season’s end and could make a pretty good addition if he wants to try Italy. His agent has extensive contacts in the peninsula so this one isn’t totally far-fetched. Equally comfortable at fullback, wingback, or even further forward, he’s got pace, fitness, a good delivery, and a little wiggle on the ball. He’s less certain on the back foot but definitely puts in a shift, although he can get caught too far forward at times. He’s probably at around the same level as Biraghi or Dalbert but might come cheaper and should fit any system you can think of. Any time you get a chance to add a guy with 55 caps and experience in the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Pros: salary, experience

Cons: language

Likelihood that he’s a target: 35%

Honestly, I don’t see a case for any of the other options. You can argue that Yuto Nagatomo or Gaël Clichy or Antunes but I just don’t see any way that any of those guys are what this team needs.