We’ve covered this ground once or twice in the past couple of weeks, but the media continue to insist that Fiorentina are desperate to add a young center forward despite the presence of Christian Kouamé, Patrick Cutrone, and Dušan Vlahović on the roster. The latest name to pop up is that of Real Madrid’s Borja Mayoral, the most recent next Raúl.
The 23-year-old has spent the past two seasons on loan at Levante, piling up 69 (nice) appearances, 14 goals, and 4 assists. His return last year was 9 and 2 in 36 appearances, good for a goal involvement every 204 minutes. For comparison’s sake, Vlahović—whom we can all agree had a largely frustrating and underwhelming season—had a goal involvement every 180 minutes.
It’s not entirely fair as a comparison, of course, as Mayoral isn’t a terrible player. He’s a true poacher, averaging under 2 shots a game; when he gets a look, though, he generally buries it. He’s also quite good at dropping off the front line and combining first-time passes with onrushing midfielders, and his defensive contribution is adequate. Make no mistake, though: it’s his poaching instincts that make him a prized asset, because he isn’t fast, won’t take defenders on with the ball very effectively, and doesn’t have the strength or size to be an aerial presence or to hold up play.
If this all sounds very familiar, it’s because that’s almost exactly what Cutrone is (although Patrick’s considerably harder-working in the defensive phase). The other odd piece to this is that Mayoral has plenty of other admirers; Lazio were supposedly quite close to bringing him aboard until quite recently—it seems that they’ve switched focus to Vedat Muriqi instead—and Valencia seem keen to snap him up as well.
We’ll conclude this like we’ve concluded every article about a young, adequate-ish, promising-ish striker over the past couple of months. With respect to Mayoral, he wouldn’t move the needle on a team that has players with similar attributes. There’s no reason to go through the hassle of bringing him in, even if he’d be available for fairly cheap with a contract running out in 2021. We should really hope that the press has simply mistaken one Borja for another: Mayoral shares an agent with Borja Valero (whose wife Rocío Rodríguez works for the group), so maybe that’s what all the fuss is about.