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Report: Fiorentina close to closing Barák deal

The Verona midfielder could be the missing piece in the Viola engine room.

Hellas Verona v SSC Bari - Coppa Italia Photo by Davide Casentini/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Especially with Gaetano Castrovilli missing, Fiorentina’s midfield skews more workmanlike than creative. There’s no real source of creativity or goals outside of Giacomo Bonaventura from the engine room, and that’s looked like one of this team’s weakness for quite some time. Daniele Pradè may have identified a solution, however, in the person of Hellas Verona star Antonín Barak.

After teasing his talent at previous stops with Udinese and Lecce, the 27-year-old has established himself as a key cog for the Mastini over the past couple of seasons. He scored 11 goals and chipped in with 4 assists last year in an almost free attacking role. While Vincenzo Italiano would likely deploy him farther back the pitch, that eye for goal and knack for the killer pass could unlock a tantalizing Viola attack.

Barák is a tall, elegant dribbler who plays with his socks rolled down around his ankles, so his aesthetic is spot on. While he can glide past defenders without ever seeming to get out of second gear, he’s more of a playmaker, always looking to thread a pass through or spin one wide. He’s got a decent shot from distance with either foot and times his runs into the box well, attacking from slightly odd angles, which should net him a fair number of opportunities for a Fiorentina side that boasts so much talent on the wing.

He should immediately replace Youssef Maleh in the starting XI and offer a lot more guile in the middle; while he’s happy to drop deep to pick up the ball, his habit of drifting wide will fit right into what Vinenzo Italiano wants from his mezzale. He fits the profile, too, of a player who’s more of a passer than a dribbler, able to involve the wide players who are supposed to be zipping around. If nothing else, having another capable creator will offer Italiano a lot more versatility in his lineups, particularly as he rotates the side through three competitions.

With personal terms agreed, it’s just a matter of getting a deal together between the clubs. While there’s been some back and forth between them, it sounds like the plan is to meet some time this week to hammer out the final agreement. Niccolò Ceccarini, who’s generally well-connected for Fiorentina transfer news, believes it will be a loan with a €2 million euro initial fee and a €10 million payment due at season’s end, which is pretty good business for a Czechia international with 30 caps who’s still in his 20s. Let’s hope that Pradè and company get this one over the line soon, because Antonín Barák should help the team quite a bit.