After offloading Pol Lirola to Marseille at a loss, it makes sense that Fiorentina would look for another option at right wingback. DS Daniele Pradè has identified Napoli rightback Kévin Malcuit as that man and pounced, bringing the 29-year-old Frenchman to Florence on loan for the rest of the year. From what we’ve gathered, there’s no option to buy him outright.
In a vacuum, it’s a pretty disappointing move. Malcuit possesses some undeniable talents—he’s very fast and isn’t hopeless with the ball at his feet—but it’s hard not to see him as a downgrade on Lirola, who, though miscast with the Viola, is quite a promising player. Malcuit offered that sort of excitement a few years ago, but his career has rather derailed over the past couple of seasons.
Signed from Lille for €12.5 million in 2018, he enjoyed a reasonably successful debut season in a platoon with Elseid Hysaj under Carlo Ancelotti, but has faded since. Much of the blame can go to his inability to stay healthy, as a knee ligament tear knocked him out early last year and he’s played just 31 minutes across 2 appearances this campaign while sitting out another 9 games with knee and calf niggles.
In theory, he’ll offer a more attack-minded option on the right of the midfield than converted central defender Martín Cáceres. Malcuit’s a decent dribbler and has demonstrated some creativity as a pacy, overlapping force, but it’s hard to imagine him being a massive upgrade on Lorenzo Venuti, who offers sound defense and the versatility to play on the left or the right, as well as filling one of the academy spots on the roster.
While a dry loan feels quite frustrating, it’s probably the best move for all involved. Pradè is out of contract at season’s end and has come under heavy fire from supporters for Fiorentina’s inexplicable transfer policies under Rocco Commisso. Assuming that Daniele bows out in June, it makes sense to add some depth to the squad that won’t tether the new regime to greater financial difficulties.
That said, we all certainly hope that Malcuit impresses enough to force the Viola and Partenopei to discuss a more permanent move, as his contract runs out next year and he’s clearly not part of a future in Calabria. Perhaps the change of scenery is all he needs to get back to his best. At worst, he’ll offer Cesare Prandelli some cover for Cáceres. And hey, Fiorentina can always use another Kevin.