Mattia Cassani. Rômulo. Facundo Roncaglia. Nenad Tomović. Micah Richards, Josh Brillante. Aleandro Rosi. Gilberto. Luca Bittante. Kevin Diks. Bruno Gaspar. Vincent Laurini. Pol Lirola. What do all these former Fiorentina players have in common? They’ve all been brought in as solutions to fix Fiorentina’s vacuum at rightback over the past decade. None of them have worked out.
That fullback spot seems cursed, although academy product Lorenzo Venuti has broken the trend and looks like, at worst, a competent option. With Lirola finally off to Marseille and Atalanta hijacking the Viola move for Chelsea’s Davide Zappacosta, though, there aren’t any options behind our beloved Lollo unless Vincenzo Italiano wants to stick Nikola Milenković or Lucas Martínez Quarta out there. So what does that mean? It’s time for Guga.
According to Nicolò Schira, the Viola are interested in a move for the Atlético Mineiro star, who carries are reported €6 million price tag. As a Brazil youth international, the 23-year-old has impressed over 3 seasons in the other Serie A. He’s been a key part of the Alvinegro defense for the past 3 years, earning just 5 bookings in 84 appearances while adding 2 goals and 5 assists while helping his team to the league’s stingiest defense this term.
He’s pretty much the Platonic ideal of a Brazilian fullback. He’s always looking to get forward, loves to take on a defender, excels at a sliding tackle, and has very cool hair. Instead of staying wide, he’s not afraid to move inside (very much a feature of Vincenzo Italiano’s 4-3-3) and have a pop from the edge of the box. He also crosses the ball very well.
This looks like a pretty smart pickup. Claudio Rodrigues Gomes (yeah, the nickname’s way better) probably isn’t ready to be a nailed on starter every week in Italy yet, but he could spend a year or two under Venuti’s wing, adjusting to life in a different hemisphere and getting up to speed. There’s nothing about his game that wouldn’t translate well, and the presence of another Brazilian fullback who wears number 98 in Igor could help ease the transition as well. For €6 million, it’s a gamble well worth taking.
And also, the man’s name is Guga. How can you not be excited for a man named Guga?