It’s a little weird that Fiorentina may need a striker more than anything else right now. After all, Dušan Vlahović is the current capocannoniere and might be the best center forward in Serie A. However, there’s some risk in fielding him every game because the team lacks a backup for him after the Aleksandr Kokorin experiment has reached its expected failure. That’s why the report from Gianluca di Marzio that the Viola are about to sign Krzysztof Piątek is very welcome news.
It’s been quite a fall from grace for the Poland international; just 3 years ago, he was setting Serie A alight with 22 goals in 37 games for Genoa and AC Milan. In just half a season, though, the Rossoneri decided he wasn’t worth the effort and farmed him out to Hertha Berlin, where he’s fallen out of the XI (due to the goalscoring exploits of Stevan Jovetić, of all people). He’s only got 1 goal in 9 appearances this year and looks like a shell of his former self.
Why kick the tires on him, then? There are a number of good reasons. The first is that even a misfiring Piątek is likely a much better option than Kokorin or any of the Primavera strikers. He’s also got a proven track record in Italy, albeit from just a year. Stylistically, he’s similar to Vlahović as well, so the team won’t have to change its approach too much when he’s in.
The worst-case scenario is that Piątek serves as a Plan B late in games, using his aerial ability to generate pressure when Fiorentina is chasing points. The best-case scenario is that he rediscovers his Genoa form and serves as Vlahović’s long-term replacement. Most likely is that he’ll chew up some minutes, spell Vlahović without leaving a smoking crater up front, and maybe earn consideration for a bigger role next year.
Full credit to Daniele Pradè for getting this done completely under the radar. While Piątek isn’t the most fashionable striker around, he’s capable of doing a job on a relatively small contract and should improve the team. In the January mercato, that’s pretty much all you can ask for. And on a loan with a €15 million optional fee, it’s a good, low-risk option that shouldn’t have any impact on Vlahovic’s status. Getting this done early in the window is just the icing on the cake.