As Fiorentina descends further into chaos, looking at potential new players feels almost quaint. Nevertheless, the squad remains in desperate need of improvement for next year, particularly if the next manager wants to use wingers. So let’s take our minds off the craziness at the top levels of the club and focus on Nicolò Schira’s recent report that the Viola are tracking Bologna attacker Riccardo Orsolini.
Niente rinnovo col #Bologna per Riccardo #Orsolini (in scadenza nel 2022) col #Bologna, che dovrà venderlo in estate per non perderlo a parametro zero. Tra i club vigili sull’esterno offensivo mancino #Fiorentina e #ACMilan. #calciomercato— Nicolò Schira (@NicoSchira) March 24, 2021
Per Schira (who’s not infallible when reporting rumors but usually in the ballpark), Orsolini has turned down a contract extension. He’s signed with the Felsinei until 2023, so they don’t need to move him this summer, but it might be best to shift him now before his value takes a hit, especially since Musa Juwara, Andreas Skov Olsen, and Emmanuel Vignato are all younger and need more playing time. If Bologna wants to cash in, this is the right time.
The only wrinkle is that Orsolini hasn’t been at his best this year. He’s got 4 goals and 3 assists in the league, good for one every 187 minutes, but he’s also missed some really good chances and seems to be stagnating a bit. At 24, he’s no longer a shiny prospect but a player entering his prime; he likely knows as well as anyone that he needs to improve if he wants to regain his place in the Italy setup and might see a move as the best opportunity to do that.
Usually starting on the right wing and cutting inside onto his stronger left foot, Orsolini’s got good pace and a solid eye for goal, as evidenced by scoring 8 in each of the past 2 seasons. He’s also a very good dribbler, ranking in the 75th percentile in Serie A this year and completing an astounding 76.1%, although he’s not taking players on nearly as much as he has in the past. That skill on the ball, his above-average crossing, and his knack for finding space in the box to get a shot away combine to make him a quite useful player, as you can see from this terribly-soundtracked YouTube video.
He’s not quite a can’t-miss signing, as his decision-making can be quite bad, mostly because he gets tunnel vision sometimes, but he’s got all the tools to be a really good attacker for a long time. I haven’t heard numbers from anyone reputable yet, but €15-20 million seems to be the most commonly quoted figure. That’s a decent amount of cash but also a very sound investment.
AC Milan are also supposedly interested but may look elsewhere, especially with several young wide attackers of their own needing minutes. The prospect of building an attack around Orsolini, Vlahović, and Gaetano Castrovilli should energize a moribund Viola fan base and could entice a top-level manager. If nothing else, he’d provide a more effective option on the right wing that José Callejón at roughly half the salary and with a decent chance to turn a profit somewhere down the line. Aside from a somewhat high price tag, there’s no reason for Fiorentina not to make an offer, not that this team lives in a causative universe anymore.