It’s no secret that the transfer market this summer is going to be awfully weird due to the coronavirus. Between the loss of revenues, uncertain player values, and the general pall of the unknown hanging over everything, there’s a pretty good chance that clubs are going to be very nervous about spending a whole lot in the window.
However, that doesn’t mean that teams aren’t going to be scrambling to move personnel around. It could well be that the simplest, least-risky way to shift squads around will be player swaps, more like how the NBA handles moves than how we’re used to seeing Serie A handle business.
Perhaps that’s why Calciomercato.com reports that Fiorentina and AS Roma are planning a swap involving Cristiano Biraghi and Leonardo Spinazzola. It’s the second time in the past couple of months we’ve heard about the Viola interest in Spinazzola, so at least we have that constancy. Since a move for Dalbert doesn’t seem as sure a bet as it did before the shutdown, and with Biraghi almost certain to return from Inter Milan in June, the left wingback spot looks badly in need of reinforcement.
Spinazzola hasn’t really had a top-class season since he left Atalanta in 2018 but has a wealth of experience in Serie A and 8 caps for Italy, so it’s not he’s the hapless bum some Roma and Juventus fans have made him out to be. He’s probably better going forward than backwards and possesses a pretty good delivery from the wing, although it’s questionable how well he’d do in Giuseppe Iachini’s hyper-defensive approach.
That said, a swap for Biraghi makes a certain amount of sense, as it’d allow both teams to move on from a player who doesn't seem to have a future at each club. However, where it all gets a bit odd is when they add Germán Pezzella, Justin Kluivert, and Alessandro Florenzi to the equation.
While the former has been tapped for a move away, albeit to Napoli, it’s hard to imagine Fiorentina adding Kluivert to a group of attackers—Federico Chiesa, Dušan Vlahović, Patrick Cutrone, Christian Kouamé, Franck Ribery, Riccardo Sottil—all competing for two spots. As for Florenzi, he’s a class player who can do so many different things, but with Pol Lirola pretty well settled at wingback and a midfield that’s starting to take shape, it’s tough to see a spot for the former Giallorossi captain in Florence.
If the first part of the rumor is true (which we’ll allow is possible), it’s more interesting as a glimpse into how business might be transacted this summer. We’d bank on seeing lots of swaps, lots of loans with esoteric redemption clauses, and few outright sales. That second part, well, we’ll just go ahead and treat that like the usual transfer rumor fodder.
At least something’s still normal.