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Borja Mayoral makes a lot of sense as Dušan’s backup

The striker wants out of Rome and Fiorentina are rumored to be in pole position

ACF Fiorentina v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

On Fiorentina’s current roster, there are two gaping holes. The first is right-winger, as neither José Callejón nor Riccardo Sottil has played well in the first third of the season. The second is a proper backup for Dušan Vlahović. Aleksandr Kokorin is useless, so it’s obvious Fiorentina needs someone to backup Vlahović to keep him as fresh as possible for the home stretch of the season.

As a side note, I’m curious if Vincenzo Italiano has told Kokorin he’s no longer in his plans. The Russian has supposedly been inactive the last few weeks due to muscle fatigue, which is suspicious considering he’s hardly played all season.

To replace Kokorin, Fiorentina’s brass seems to have zeroed in on Borja Mayoral as a replacement. This rumor makes a lot of sense, especially considering that the Viola were linked to Mayoral in the summer of 2020, before his loan move to Roma. Tito wrote this piece on him back then, and didn’t want him in Florence for reasons which made sense at the time. Fiorentina did have three young strikers, and Mayoral wouldn’t have made sense as another option.

Now, however, he makes perfect sense. The 24-year-old is technically still a Real Madrid player, he’s only played one full season with Los Blancos, back in 2017-2018. After a two-year loan spell with Levante, he was loaned to Roma on a two-year deal, with an option to buy for €20 million next June.

If you’d ask Roma fans this summer, the idea of him leaving at this point would be crazy. For large stretches of last season, he was better than Edin Dzeko, scoring 17 goals and adding 6 assists in less than 2300 minutes of play.

This season, however, Jose Mourinho has designated him to a bench role, as he’s only appeared three times in Serie A. Mourinho always tends to hate a few players upon arriving at a new club, so I’m not that turned off by his judgment.

Mayoral is an all-around solid striker, with his strengths being his hold-up play and finishing. As a result, however, he’s very reliant on the service of those around him, so he can tend to be anonymous on the field if he’s not the focal point. This is similar to Dušan’s flaws, but he doesn’t have the strength or technical ability of the big Serb.

Still, if Mayoral is willing to come in on a short-term loan, Fiorentina should heavily pursue him. As the reliable Niccolò Ceccarini says below, he’s top of the list for January.

Fiorentina doesn’t need anything special for Dušan’s backup, rather just someone who’s not Kokorin. Seriously, any adequate striker will do. Mayoral certainly fits that description, and it would be great to see him brought in and Kokorin shipped back to Russia.