Okay, so it’s not a huge surprise, but the contract has been deposited and the announcement is official, so it’s probably safe to post this now. You ready?
IT’S OFFICIAL FIORENTINA SIGNED JONATHAN IKONE LET’S F***ING GO
*takes deeeeeeeeep drag on cigarette
Jonathan Ikoné is a new Fiorentina player #ForzaViola #Fiorentina #ACFFiorentina #Ikonehttps://t.co/2fJ75RZGn2— ACF Fiorentina English (@ACFFiorentinaEN) January 3, 2022
Full credit to Daniele Pradè on this one, as he snapped up Ikone for just €14 million (plus another million in bonuses he’ll likely hit and 15% of any future transfer fees) after the player refused an extension with Lille. We haven’t heard a lot of details on the contract (which runs until 2026), but we’d guess it’s for something like €1.75 million a year. He’s also chosen shirt number 11, which is a perfect pick.
Despite regressing over the past year, Ikone’s a fantastic player and an enormous upgrade over José Callejón and Riccardo Sottil on the left wing. The 23-year-old Frenchman stacked up 10 goals and 20 assists over the past 3 years with les Dogues. More than that, he’s been one of Ligue 1’s most creative attackers; he’s ranked in the top 20 for multiple years for numerous statistical categories that augur well (carries into opposing penalty area, shots created with open play passes, passes into the box completed), and he passes the eyeball test too: he’s both quick and fast, able to beat his man on the move and from a standstill, and always keeps his head up.
As a left-footed player on the right, he likes to stay wide before cutting inside onto his left, looking to play in a striker. With Dušan Vlahović as a target and with Nico González constantly running at the back post, he should have good passing options in the box and ought to fit right in. The only real question is about his defensive work rate—he can look disinterested without the ball at times—but Vincenzo Italiano has shown that he can get everyone on the same page, so it’s not a real concern.
The good news, though, is that Ikone fixes the only hole in the XI. He and Nico will stretch opposing defenses wider, giving Vlahović and the midfielders more space to operate centrally. Ikone’s sheer pace also means he’ll be a lethal outlet at transitions; the thought of him combining with González at full pelt is likely keeping the rest of Serie A up at night. And, because Vlahović and González are both so dangerous, Ikone won’t need to be the savior of the attack. He’ll need to provide some balance and take over when his colleagues are shackled by the defense.
This signing means that Pradè and Joe Barone can turn their attention to finding a backup striker and maybe another midfielder while also laying the groundwork for the summer’s mercato. It also means that Fiorentina have the best tridente we’ve seen in a very long time, and could help push them back into European competition for the first time since 2015.
Welcome, Jonathan. We can’t wait to see what you bring to the table.