Despite the recent and deeply controversial signing of Aleksandr Kokorin, Fiorentina’s attack is likely to remain the domain of Dušan Vlahović. The 20-year-old Serbian international has transformed into one of Serie A’s best strikers of late, scoring 6 goals in his past 8 outings, and with Gaetano Castrovilli, Bartłomiej Drągowski, and Sofyan Amrabat, looks like one of the club’s foundational players for the next few years. It’s excellent news, then, that he’s open to extending his contract past 2023, when his current deal expires.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the striker was asked about the transfer rumors inevitably swirling around him and replied with the bog standard, “I’m a Fiorentina player and I only think about Fiorentina.” When asked about a contract renewal, though, he gave Viola supporters a lot more to get excited about, musing, “My agents talk about it. I like Florence, I like Fiorentina. Why not?”
While it’s not quite the ringing endorsement of the badge and colors we’d all like, it’s a good first step. Currently on a salary of €800,000, he’s certainly earned a raise relative to the rest of the squad. Again, his current deal expires in 2023, so there’s no rush, but it’s in the team’s interest to get this hammered out as quickly as possible, rather than letting the matter fest like it has with Nikola Milenković, who recently refused an extension and looks to be on his way out this summer.
While Vlahović still has plenty of holes in his game, it’s worth remembering that he’s already earned 4 international caps and a goal; finds the back of the net more often than Dries Mertens, Alvaro Morata, Domenico Berardi, or Andrea Petagna (and is almost exactly even with Andrea Belotti) and is the only player in the league’s top 20 scorers who’s under the age of 23. When you consider how hopeless he was through the first couple of months, you get a much better impression of how good he’s been of late.
Even if he never advances past this level of development (again, unlikely considering the jump he’s recently taken) he’s already playing like a seasoned Serie A veteran. When you factor in how much he’ll improve with another year or two under his belt, it’s easy to imagine him as the best striker Fiorentina have had at least since Alberto Gilardino’s heyday. Combined with his impressive maturity, there’s no reason to think that he’s anywhere near the finished product yet. If nothing else, it means a few more years of kickarounds between Dušan and Rocco after training.
So let’s all just sit with this good, wholesome news for a little while and feel okay about ourselves and the world before we have to go back and think about how awful everything is out there.