José Callejón has always been a pretty weird fit for Fiorentina. Brought in as an ostensible replacement for Federico Chiesa last summer, the 34-year-old Spaniard underwhelmed immensely for the Viola. While some of that was certainly on Giuseppe Iachini, who tried to shoehorn him in as either a wingback or a striker (a perfect Chiesa replacement indeed), Callejón also played really poorly, contributing a single assist and generally looking very disinterested.
While Fiorentina’s dearth of wingers with senior experience means he could stick around—only Nicolás González is nailed on for a role next year, with Riccardo Sottil, Riccardo Saponara, and Tòfol Montiel all facing uncertain futures—there’s been a fair amount of chatter that he could leave this summer, with Lazio mooted as a possible landing spot, according to Rome-based newspaper Il Messagero (via FirenzeViola).
Per that report, Maurizio Sarri wants Callejón, as Lazio has few wide attackers at the moment, having played Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 for the past few years. Slotting in someone with several campaigns of Sarriball under his belt could help the rest of the team catch on more quickly as well as adding a fairly low-cost, low-risk piece to the rotation.
There are, of course, numerous stumbling blocks, because it wouldn’t be Serie A without them. First and foremost, the Aquile probably aren’t going to make any moves until they figure out what’s happening with Joaquín Correa, who’s been linked to PSG. Unless and until that influx of cash arrives, Igli Tare and company may not want to add anyone.
There are other factors, too. A lot depends on Vincenzo Italiano, who may welcome Callejón’s experience as well; he handed the veteran a start in the first preseason friendly, which could mean anything or nothing. Fiorentina could also trigger a clause in Callejón’s contract to keep him on the books for one more season if it means they can squeeze anything from Lazio, although the ex-Napoli star’s wages (€2.5 million, making him the highest-paid Viola player) mean that Daniele Pradè’s probably happy to move him along if possible.
In short, there’s apparently interest from all parties involved to send Callejón to the blue side of Rome, but it all depends on the Correa deal—still stalled out as Claudio Lotito holds out for a bigger fee—and whether Italiano wants to keep his most experienced player. Basically, expect this to drag on until the very end of the window, and maybe even beyond, because that’s how the business works sometimes.