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Report: Alfredo Morelos is the man to lead Fiorentina’s line

You have to love a player nicknamed “the Buffalo,” even if the rumor doesn’t especially add up.

Rangers v St. Mirren - Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership Photo by Willie Vass/Pool via Getty Images

We’ve written so, so much about Fiorentina’s striker situation, but it’s been a little while so we’ll refresh it for everyone. Between Patrick Cutrone and Christian Kouamé, the Viola have two exciting young prospects. Since Dušan Vlahović likely needs a year away on loan, that means that the team probably needs one more striker. Given the talent already available, there are two options here: buy a cheap veteran or break the bank for a top-notch hitman. Enter Alfredo Morelos.

The 24-year-old Colombian has been superb for Rangers since joining for €1.2 million from HJK Helsinki in 2017. He’s scored 79 goals with 20 assists in 142 appearances, which is good for a scoring involvement every 114 minutes (that’s quite good). He was the Scottish Premier League’s leading scorer a couple years ago and has set records in the Europa League as well but seems to want out; manager Steven Gerrard has dropped him of late, citing a lack of focus.

There’s quite a queue of clubs supposedly interested. Lille, Bayer Leverkusen, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, and who knows how many others are reportedly planning moves, and if you believe French media outfit Foot Mercato, Fiorentina have joined the crowd. Gers are probably hoping to get about €20 million, given that Morelos (whose utterly delightful nickname is “el Bufalo”) is a Colombia international whose contract runs until 2023. While Fiorentina may seem an odd destination, it’s worth noting that Morelos’ agent has worked with the Viola—thanks, Rachid Ghezzal—and that could aid a deal.

Morelos is a dynamite player, a lethal finisher with a stocky build and a knack for finding the back of the net from outrageous angles; he’s got a little bit of Sergio Agüero in him in that regard. Unlike the Argentine, though, el Bufalo tends to move to the wings or drop deep to help in the buildup. He likes (perhaps a bit too much) to take on defenders with the ball out wide but uses his remarkable physical strength to hold up play, allowing runners in behind him. He also wins an eyebrow-raising number of penalties, although in fairness to him they’re mostly on the up-and-up: he’s brilliant at interposing himself between ball and defender in the area.

The knocks on Morelos are usually based around his discipline (41 yellow cards, 7 red cards, and a few pretty ugly moments) and his occasionally wayward dribbling and crossing, but his commitment to the team and scoring record make him easy to forgive. With his ability to pull wide or deep and link play before racing forward to finish moves, you’d think he’d fit right into what the Viola are doing with Franck Ribery and Gaetano Castrovilli; he’s also probably capable of playing on the wing if Giuseppe Iachini tries messing with Fiorentina’s shape again.

While it’s fair to wonder if splashing big on another fairly young striker who hasn’t proven his worth in one of Europe’s top leagues (with all respect to the SPL, bagging goals at Partick Thistle isn’t quite the San Siro) is a wise allocation of Rocco Commisso’s funds, Morelos has at least shown that he can get on the scoresheet consistently. He looks like a genuinely fun player and one who could partner either Kouamé or Cutrone. The transfer fee is high, yes, but ultimately, the real stumbling block here is believing that Foot Mercato has an inside source at either end of this transaction. It doesn’t seem all that likely, but we can, at the very least, dream about it.