We haven’t made any secret about our love for Riccardo Sottil around these parts. Not only does he have the high-beam eyes (my heart), but he’s an incredibly talented winger who’s previously been linked to the likes of Tottenham Hotspur. Frozen out at Fiorentina, it sounds like he’s ready to move to Cagliari in search of playing time; even his dad (a former Viola player and current Pescara manager) says that the deal makes sense, so it’s just a matter of formalizing things.
We’re gutted. Sottil Junior has been with the club since 2016 after rising through the ranks at Genoa and then Torino. He formed part of a nuclear Primavera attack with Chiesa and Gabriele Gori. After a few cameos last year, he was supposed to take a larger role this year under Vincenzo Montella. Instead, il Aeroplanino tried to turn him into a wingback—an experiment he abandoned after a month—and new boss Giuseppe Iachini never showed any real inclination to incorporate his talents.
And there is undeniably a lot of talent there. Sottil led Serie A in fouls suffered per 90 (4.56) and was third in successful dribble percentage (81.3%), which both indicate that he’s about as dynamic as they come in progressing the ball. The problem, of course, is that his final product is sadly lacking: just 1 assist and no goals in his 609 competitive minutes. That wasn’t just a matter of teammates missing chances, either, as his crossing was consistently wayward and his finishing even worse. Combined with Iachini’s rigid and winger-less 3-5-2, it meant that Ricky didn’t have much space.
Cagliari, now coached by 4-3-3 afficionado Eusebio di Francesco, badly need to add some dynamic wide attackers. Gianluca di Marzio thinks the move would be a season-long with an option to buy (we’d guess for somewhere in the €6 million neighborhood), although it sounds like Fiorentina want to keep an option to buy him back. This sounds like a great compromise, as it’d let Sottil take a spot as a starter under a manager who’s great at grooming young wingers while giving the Viola a chance to bring him back; Cagliari get a very promising player at worst and, at best, a year or two of excellence from him and then a nice payout.
Sottil’s currently representing Italy with the U21s ahead of their friendly against Slovenia and Euro qualifier against Sweden, so the deal won’t be finalized until he’s wrapped all that up. We’d guess that the paperwork will all be signed some time in the second week of September and Ricky will head south and west to Sardinia to link up with his new team. We’ll report on the official move, but it’s probably time to start taking down that Sottil shrine you’ve got in the corner of the bedroom.