Despite goals from backup and backup backup wingers José Callejón and Riccardo Sottil against Sampdoria, it’s glaringly obvious to everyone that Fiorentina need an upgrade in the wide areas; Nicolás González, sadly, is but one man (and an injury-prone one at that), while Riccardo Saponara is, despite his unbelievable talent, lacking the necessary dynamism to stretch a defense. That’s why it’s such good news that various outlets are reporting that Jonathan Ikoné is all but a Viola player.
Fiorentina are in advanced talks with Lille to complete the signing of Jonathan Ikoné. Negotiations at final stages - personal terms already agreed. #transfers— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 1, 2021
Official bid for €15m. RB Leipzig are interested too but Fiorentina are confident to complete the deal soon.
The 23-year-old France youth international is left footed and plays primarily on the right of a front three, which would allow González to stick to his favored side. Ikoné’s primary attributes are searing pace and superb technique. At his best, he’s a dynamic ball carrier who can terrorize opponents on the break while offering some shooting and clever movement against a set defense, which is pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered.
If €15 million seems like a minuscule fee for someone who’s that good and that young, well, you’re right. His contract runs out in 2023, though, and he wants out (sound familiar?), so les Dogues are stuck selling him for pennies. The criticism does run deeper, though, and he seems to have stagnated over the past couple of years. He’s never scored more than 4 goals in a league season, and his assists tally has dropped from 9 to 6 to 5. Some of his underlying stats also show some worrying regression.
However, we’re still talking about a 23-year-old who’s widely considered one of the best wingers in Ligue 1. He’s probably not on Nico’s level, but his sheer athletic ability means that his floor is probably a less-frustrating Sottil, which is a very good floor. He’s also had suitors from all over Europe for the past couple of years (RB Leipzig rarely target chumps), which means that, if the rumor mill is to be believed, talent spotters across the continent rate him highly.
Ikoné’s arrival would likely push either Sottil or Callejón out the door. The former’s garnered some loan interest in Spain, while the latter could see the final few months of his contract bought out. Either way, it’s hard not to see this as a big upgrade if Daniele Pradè and company get the deal over the line. Until then, enjoy some highlights.