Fiorentina’s midfield has been a precarious state for at least a month. The impending (maybe?) departure of Sofyan Amrabat and a long-term injury for Gaetano Castrovilli mean that loanee Arthur Melo, Rolando Mandragora, and Alfred Duncan are the only guys with top flight experience in a double pivot. For a squad competing on 3 fronts, that’s simply not enough bodies, so the news that the club is close to closing a deal for Aster Vranckx is good news indeed.
It’s certainly a surprising move, as we hadn’t heard anything about it until today, but it fits Daniele Pradè’s modus operandi perfectly: find a good player who’s waiting on a move away, sit back, then swoop near the end of the window when the other team is starting to worry that it may not be able to get anything for a superfluous asset. The fee is apparently €7 million, which feels like a bargain, and Vranckx will sign a 4-year deal for a salary that likely won’t break the bank.
The former Mechelen man signed with Wolfsburg in 2021 and hasn’t quite worked out for them. A loan move to AC Milan last season was a pretty clear failure as well—9 appearances (3 starts) isn’t great—but this isn’t some guy we’re talking about. Vranckx, at just 20, already has 2 senior caps for Belgium and captains the U21 side. It sounds like his time in Germany has come to a close as the Wolves expected him to join the Rossoneri and already replaced him, leaving him as a transfer market casualty more than anything.
That could be a massive gain for Fiorentina. Although he’s young, Vranckx was a standout Bundesliga performer in 2021-2022 and is clearly capable of playing in the top flight. He can operate as a 10, but I’d guess that Italiano will use him in a deeper role, where his energy both on and off the ball should complement Arthur (or Mandragora, for that matter) quite well.
A lot of Milan fans seem pretty upset to have missed out on him despite his minimal role for the Rossoneri last season, but it’s still a bit odd that Wolfsburg are ready to move on from a 20-year-old they signed for €8 million a couple summers ago. No matter, though, as Vranckx (pronounced Franks) could be an absolute steal for the Viola if he can fulfill his potential. Expect an official announcement by early next week, barring anything silly.