We’ve thought for months that Fiorentina need a more creative midfield presence, especially with Gaetano Castrovilli out injured, and the club has finally found a solution in Antonín Barák. The Czechia international joins from Hellas Verona on a year-long loan deal. According to Nicolò Schira, the Viola will pay an initial €2 million loan fee, with a further €12 million fee due at season’s end to make the move permanent. The new number 72 will earn €1.5 million.
While he’s been deployed as more of a number 10 over the past couple of years with the Mastini, he’s played deeper too, notably with Udinese. He scored 11 goals and tacked on 4 assists last season, highlighting how effective he is in the final third, and he should help unlock the deeper blocks that Fiorentina have struggled to break down. His passing vision, close control, shooting prowess, and understanding of space will likely help unlock his teammates in a big way, and we’re all quite excited.
It’s not a ridiculous price for a 27-year-old with a track record of production in Serie A, especially since he’ll probably drop right into the XI in place of Youssef Maleh, although it may take him a little while to get his legs fully under him; he hasn’t ever played in a system that requires as much pressing as Vincenzo Italiano’s, but he’s a big, active, athletic player who’ll doubtless adapt within a couple of weeks.
The only possible downside is that his addition will increase the squad size even more, necessitating several sales before the window closes in 5 days. With 30 senior players jostling for 25 roster spots, Daniele Pradè and company need to shuffle at least 4 players towards the exits (assuming Gaetano Castrovilli isn’t registered until December due to injury) or risk paying players to train and do nothing else, which is a significant problem for a club with Fiorentina’s resources.
Still, this isn’t the time to worry about money. This is the time to celebrate Antonín Barák, a talented playmaker who’s going to improve Fiorentina and give us a lot of fun moments. After all, the last player to wear 72 for the Viola (Josip Iličić) was a tall, elegant playmaker who provided some magical touches and goals. Barák looks set to continue that legacy, albeit without Lurch’s occasional bouts of invisibility. We can’t wait to see him.