Fiorentina have signed budding star Michael Kayode to a contract extension. The Italian youth international put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him in Florence until 2028. Word hasn’t leaked about his salary yet but it’s probably somewhere around half a million euros a year. We also haven’t heard anything about a buyout clause, which could be good news indeed.
2023 has been Kayode’s year. After a standout season for the Primavera, he celebrated his 19th birthday by scoring the winner in the U19 Euro final against Portugal, earning a long look from Vincenzo Italiano at Fiorentina’s preseason camp and even drawing a surprise start in the season opening win against Genoa. He marked his senior debut with an incredible performance, leaving us convinced that the Viola were stacked at rightback for the first time in decades, with the youngster ready to learn behind Dodô.
The Brazilian’s season-ending injury forced Kayode into an even bigger role, though, and he hasn’t flinched in the slightest, going from strength to strength with an assurance that belies his years. His season highlight is doubtless his shackling of Khvicha Karatshkelia against Napoli a couple weeks ago; it’s hard to believe that a 19-year-old in his first senior season could put the clamps on one of Serie A’s most explosive attackers, but Kayode did just that.
/ Michael Kayode (19) with a top defensive performance for Fiorentina vs Kvaratskhelia!— EuroFoot (@eurofootcom) October 12, 2023
He's played the last 5 games for the Italian club. pic.twitter.com/Ua1x0zHYIV
Blessed with size, pace, quickness, and stamina, it’s not just the physical gifts that set Kayode apart. His reading of the game is superb, highlighted by his knack for goal line clearances out of nowhere, and he’s got an unbelievable confidence, evidenced by his willingness to yell at his older, better-established teammates. Having been cut by Juventus as a 15-year-old, he made his way through the ranks at Serie D Gozzano before joining Fiorentina in 2021, so you can see where that self-belief comes from. Add in an outrageously long throw and you’ve the makings of a long-term fan favorite.
Like every 19-year-old, of course, Kayode isn’t the finished product. He badly needs to improve his crossing, and a rough outing against Empoli’s quick and fluid tridente demonstrated the room for growth he has in his initial positioning. Even so, his trajectory is basically straight up, and he looks like he could be one of Serie A’s best fullbacks within a couple of years. For a club like Fiorentina that hasn’t had a good solution at the position for so long, it’s truly wonderful news. Can’t wait to see him keep growing into the player he can become.