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Reports: Pezzella out, Nastasic in

It looks like our Captain is gone for real

German Pezzella of ACF Fiorentina in action during the Italy... Photo by Andrea Staccioli/Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images

Death, taxes, and Daniele Pradè waiting until the last two weeks of the mercato to conduct business. According to numerous reports from the most reliable reporters out there, German Pezzella is set to move to Real Betis on a four-year contract for a fee of €3.5 million. Incoming will be Matija Nastasic, who joins from recently relegated Schalke for a low fee.

This one seems set to get across the line, and before offering any analysis we have to say thank you to Pezzella. Four years at one club in the modern game is no easy feat. We’ll all remember Pezzella for being a great defender, but most importantly being the captain the club needed following the death of Davide Astori. The €7.5 million loss Fiorentina will take in transfer fees on Pezzella has been more than made up by his play and attitude in Firenze. It’s a homecoming, as he returns to the club where he made 66 appearances from 2015-2017.

As for Nastasic, it’s also a return to an old club, as he played for Fiorentina for just one season, 2011-2012. This is a swap that makes complete sense, far more than the Milenkovic-Nastasic swap that had been rumored in recent weeks. Nastasic is left-footed, a similar age, and also far better on the ball than Pezze, who did not have a style of play suitable for Vincenzo Italiano. He’ll round out Fiorentina’s center-back department alongside Igor, LMQ, and Nikola Milenkovic.

An interesting sidenote is that the club is trying to tie down Milenkovic to a contract extension. This makes some sense, given that interest has been lukewarm at best, and a good season could vault Nikola back into the sights of large clubs. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a real discussion to be had at whether he should be sold for €15 million. Even if he stays and leaves for free, Fiorentina’s chances of qualifying for Europe would go up dramatically. We’ll see what unfolds over the next couple of weeks.