Having sent out all but one of the fringe first-team fullbacks on loan, Fiorentina have moved that one out as well. The club announced today that Szymon Żurkowski will have his loan move to Empoli renewed, and he’ll be joined by Aleksa Terzić as the Viola continue to trim the squad into something a bit sleeker.
Żurkowski spent the back half of last season on loan with the Azzurri after failing to break through with the first team under Vincenzo Montella. We were quite optimistic about his chances there (especially after he took the 10 shirt), but he spent the first several games on the bench before earning manager Pasquale Marino’s trust. If the neighbors can’t hang onto Samuele Ricci, the Big Z should have an obvious path to playing time. Even if they do, a full training camp spent with the team should help him integrate into the setup much more easily, especially among some familiar faces. We still like his ability as a ball-carrier and shooter in a box-to-box role and think he’s likely to earn significant minutes.
Terzić could also do with more playing time as he continues to develop as a defender (keep in mind he was a winger until three years ago and is still learning the position). Manager Alessio Dionisi favors a 4-3-1-2 and requires his fullbacks to get forward; with injury-prone 33-year-old Luca Antonelli the only competition for a spot, we expect Terzić to get a pretty good run with the starters. He’s certainly got the quality to take some big steps in his development this year, so it’s more a matter of putting his head down and getting to work.
While nobody had expected either to contribute much to the first team this season, it’s pretty clear that Fiorentina badly need to reinforce both of their positions. While the engine room has quality in Sofyan Amrabat, Gaetano Castrovilli, Erick Pulgar, and Alfred Duncan, there’s no depth behind them, especially if (as we’ve heard might happen) Marco Benassi leaves for Hellas Verona on loan. That left wingback spot, meanwhile, is now officially empty. Dalbert is back with Inter Milan (for now, at least) and Cristiano Biraghi is still on vacation following the Nerazzurri season, although he could leave as well. It’s pretty obvious that Daniele Pradè will have to bring in players for both those spots.
Fiorentina’s new-found rapport with Empoli is good for both teams: Empoli gets strong players they otherwise couldn’t afford, while Fiorentina can judge their development from just 40 minutes away. If that new best-friends status means that the Viola can push through a deal for Ricci, so much the better. For now, though, all we can do is wish Szymon and Aleksa the best of luck in Empoli, although they’re both excellent players and should do fine even without our well wishes.