Fiorentina announced this morning that attacker Christian Kouamé will join Belgian giants Anderlecht on loan for the rest of the season. While the brief announcement on the club website doesn’t go into details, the scuttlebutt is that there’s a €1 million fee and no clause to make the move permanent.
It’s probably in everyone’s best interest for Kouamé to get a fresh start, as he looked woeful in his limited role last year. He scored just 2 goals in 1061 minutes, which is a bad return no matter how you slice it. The eyeball test was just as tough on him: heavy touches, timid shots, and physical clumsiness were his hallmarks, although he did at least do a good job dropping in to help the defense as Giuseppe Iachini required.
While it hasn’t worked out yet with Kouamé, he’s signed through 2024 and has plenty of time to bring it together. Let’s not forget that he’s coming off a cruciate ligament tear, and while the knee’s physically sound, it can take an athlete two years to mentally recover and trust the joint enough to regain their pre-injury level. Getting buried on the depth chart by Iachini and being used in an awkward role by Cesare Prandelli didn’t help at all. He’s also still just 23.
We all knew it was unfair to use him as a target forward just because he can jump really, really high. Going back to his days at Genoa, he’s suited to a much more dynamic role that takes advantage of his pace and intelligent movement. He’s clearly a good technical player, as demonstrated by his cross-field passes on the move late last year, but the lack of confidence shown in him by various managers this year clearly gave him the yips.
Anderlecht looks like a great landing spot, too. Manager Vincent Kompany has used a 4-4-2 this year which requires the forwards to drift wide and pull deep at times, which should suit Christian’s tendencies. He’ll also have a decent path to playing time, with Joshua Zirkzee, Benito Raman, and Isaac Kiese Thielin the only other options.
In a perfect world, Kouamé can get a fresh start (while still wearing purple) and relocate his form in a new city without the massive expectations he’s carried in Florence. Anderlecht can take advantage of a guy who’s more than capable of hitting 15 goals in the league. Fiorentina can sit back, let it happen, and welcome back a very good forward for next year.
So best of luck, Chris. We’re all rooting for you to smash the Pro League and come back to Florence for a long and successful Viola career.