In a move that confirms what we’ve suspected for weeks, Fiorentina have loaned Marco Benassi to Hellas Verona. The 26-year-old midfielder (whose birthday was last week, so auguri, Marco!) will suit up for the Gialloblù this season and, if they pay a reported €7 million, will join them permanently next summer.
| BENASSI AL VERONA— ACF Fiorentina (@acffiorentina) September 12, 2020
La Fiorentina comunica di aver ceduto, a titolo temporaneo con diritto di riscatto, i diritti alle prestazioni sportive del calciatore Marco Benassi all'Hellas Verona F.C. pic.twitter.com/4NsD7s7BtS
Fiorentina paid Torino €12 million for the former Inter Milan youth captain back in 2017. Benassi was supposed to form part of a post-Vincenzo Montella midfield that would offer mobility and physicality but never quite got there. While his stats are impressive for a midfielder—17 goals and 5 assists in 95 appearances is a very solid return—he’s never quite passed the eyeball test.
It’s weird, too, because he’s obviously a player with outrageous technique; you don’t score some of the goals he’s hit without having some tremendous ability. But, aside from those moments of genius, he’s often so anonymous on the pitch that you forget he’s there. Under three different managers with very different tactics, he spends most of his time drifting to the right touchline, rarely getting involved in possession or defense, and just sort of hangs out. It’s a bummer that his final appearance for the club ended with an injury sub against Parma but also feels somehow spiritually fitting.
If anyone can unlock his potential, though, it should be Ivan Jurić. The Croatian is a Gian Piero Gasperini disciple who spent last year squeezing goals out of his midfielders. Benassi will likely play as a 10, or possibly even a central striker (Valerio Verre spent some time as a prima punta), and will focus on getting into the box, which should suit him. We fully expect him to be an important part of the Mastini setup next year and to maybe even find the consistency that’s proven so elusive in his Viola career.
While the €7 million may look like a loss, the magic of amortization means that Fiorentina should pretty much break even on the investment they made. It’s too bad that Benassi never kicked on in Florence—some moron thought he’d be the most important midfielder in the team at one point—but a move to Verona (less than a 2-hour drive from his hometown of Modena) should spark him back to form. We wish him luck in his new endeavor so long as he doesn’t do one of these to Fiorentina on his return.