Signed on deadline day last January on a loan with an obligation to buy for €15 million, Alfred Duncan was brought to Florence to steer the club away from the bottom of the table. His first half-season with Fiorentina was a success. Duncan played 13 matches for the Viola, scoring a goal and adding an assist, all while bringing energy to a midfield that was somewhat lethargic beforehand. Heading into this season, Duncan was expected to be a key man in the Viola’s engine room, as either a #6 or #8 in Beppe’s 3-5-2. However, after a great performance on opening day against Torino where he was the man of the match, Duncan became an enigma, hardly seeing the field under Beppe or Cesare Prandelli. He’s only played 71 minutes in Serie A since then, as well as the full 90 in Fiorentina’s opening Coppa Italia match against Padova.
With Prandelli’s insistence on thinning down Fiorentina’s squad and Alfred Duncan clearly not being in his plans, it’s no surprise that many reports have Duncan close to a loan move to Cagliari. The Isolani reportedly possess an option to buy of about €13 million euros, and Duncan will complete his medical tomorrow and be in the squad to face Milan on Monday.
From a Cagliari perspective, Duncan is a great signing. Duncan worked under mister Eusebio Di Francesco in EDF’s second stint with Sassuolo, which is rumored to be the reason why the Sardinians are his preferred choice. Duncan should slot in comfortably to EDF’s 4-3-3, replacing Marko Rog who is out for the season with an ACL tear.
From a Fiorentina perspective, I feel confused. Duncan was brought in for a sizeable investment and never looked like a flop. Yet, two managers in a row have refused to integrate him into their plans. He wasn’t great in his 55 minutes against Benevento, but that doesn’t explain why Prandelli never selected him again. You can add Duncan to the list of Daniele Pradè’s questionable purchases. Two of Sassuolo’s best players in the 2018-2019 season, Pradè purchased Duncan and Pol Lirola for a combined €30 million but both have now left Florence, and the Viola will be lucky to collect 80% of the money spent. The fact that Pradè is selling his own high-profile purchases at a loss is a self-indictment of his own failures as DS, which makes me think he has something up his sleeve that we will hear about shortly. If this is the end of Alfred Duncan in Florence, what a strange time it was.