As we approach the summer transfer window (which may occur in October, confusingly enough), Fiorentina will be linked to an increasing succession of mystery men, has-beens, and downright unlikely players. There will be the occasional candidate, though, who might actually be a real target. According to the generally reliable Nicolò Schira, Jorge Carrascal falls into the latter category.
$20 million is a pretty substantial sum for a 22-year-old, especially one who hasn’t really achieved a whole lot in his brief career, but the Colombian looks like he could be a star. His primary attribute is his dazzling ability with the ball at his feet: he’s got the tricks and the quickness to dribble past a man in a telephone booth, which have led to some Neymar comparisons. While that’s obviously a hysterical bit of hyperbole, he is indeed capable of breaking down a defense in possession with some slippery work.
There are a few knocks against him, though. He’s not the strongest and his willingness to go over with suspicious ease won’t win him many friends. While he can pick the killer pass, his end product is all too often lacking, and he’s not particularly prolific. His favorite role seems to be as a number 10 with license both drop deep to pick up the ball or to drive in behind the striker, although he can also play on the left wing in a pinch.
He’s had a bit of an odd career thus far as well, debuting at just 16 years of age with hometown club Millonarios before moving to Sevilla for €900,000 in 2016. The Andalusians cut him loose after just a year, though, selling him for €2 million to Ukrainian outfit Karpaty. He made 41 appearances in 2 years there, scoring 6 goals and assisting 5 more, before River snapped him up for €3 million in January 2019. He’s made 10 appearances for them this year and scored 3 times so far, but he’s well off being a regular starter for the club, although he’s nailed on for the Colombia U23s.
All in all, it’s hard to see a fit for him. If the Viola want a tricky dribbling 10, Gaetano Castrovilli seems the obvious fit, with Franck Ribery also more than capable of filling in, while Kevin Agudelo would also be a natural option in that role from what we can tell. Maybe if Daniele Pradè and Joe Barone can talk River down to half that price it’d be a decent investment, but spending so much on a 22-year-old without EU citizenship who’d likely be redundant anyways feels a bit off.
On the other hand, Schira’s usually pretty plugged in, so if he says there’s contact, we’re willing to believe him. Whether it leads to anything more than some transatlantic phone calls remains to be seen. What really tips the scales for us, though, is that Carrascal does indeed have a neck tattoo. Two, in fact. And given the Viola recruitment strategy of late, that may be the key factor.