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Report: Negotiations for Piątek “in progress”

This would be a big gamble for a club that needs a sure thing.

Hertha BSC Training Session Photo by Florian Pohl/City-Press via Getty Images

The six Serie A teams that qualified for Europe through the league averaged 79 goals this year. Fiorentina scored just 51. Despite the league’s best defense since Giuseppe Iachini took the reins, it’s pretty obvious that the Viola, and particularly the strikers, need to put the ball in the net more often. That’s all quite logical. What isn’t logical is the rumor that the club is considering a move for Krzysztof Piątek.

The 25-year-old had an incredible season in 2018-2019, his first in Serie A. He scored 13 goals for Genoa in the first half of the season before AC Milan swooped in with €35 million in January, then hit 9 more in the back half of the league with the Rossoneri, whose fans hailed him as the second coming of Pippo Inzaghi. He was, quite simply, unstoppable.

Until he stopped. This past season, he scored 4 goals in the first half of the season. More than that, he was so bad that Stefano Pioli (who knows a thing or two about misfiring strikers from his time in Florence) sent him to the bench. When Hertha Berlin offered €24 million in January, Milan grabbed the money and bolted the other direction.

Piątek has sputtered the Alte Dame too, scoring 4 times and adding an assist in 15 Bundesliga appearances, good for a goal involvement every 182 minutes, which looks even less impressive when you note that two of those were penalties. While Hertha weren’t exactly an attacking powerhouse—48 goals in 34 games—a look at the Pole’s stats indicate that he hasn’t rediscovered the clinical nature he displayed for that one magical season.

A look back through his history provides a bit of hope, as he scored 21 for Wisła Kraków in 2017-2018, but 9 of those were PKs and, with respect, the Ekstraklasa isn’t generally a haven for top tier talent. At 25, Piątek may still have some room for growth, but he’s likely more or less the player he’s going to be. While his recent slump probably isn’t indicative of his overall quality, neither was that outlier that saw him unable to miss. He’s probably the sort of player who can consistently hit 10-15 goals in Serie A. That’s a valuable player, yes, but not one worth breaking the bank for.

And buying him would be expensive, as Hertha supposedly want over €20 million to ensure they turn a profit on him. Since Piątek doesn’t tend to create his own goals with the ball but rather feeds off service from wingers or midfielders, getting the best from him would require reinforcements elsewhere as well. In that regard, he’s quite similar to Patrick Cutrone, who’s younger, marginally less expensive, and Italian (which Rocco Commisso has said matters to him).

Pradè loves a reclamation project and may see in Piątek a perfect fit for Iachini’s rugged attack, so this move could happen. On the other hand, the report seems to come from La Nazione, who tend to spit out any old garbage it can find about Fiorentina; believing this rumor means believing that rag, which is mighty tough to do.