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Deadline day: Fiorentina moves Amrabat, Jović, adds López, keeps LMQ

Daniele Pradè was as busy as usual at the end of the mercato.

ACF Fiorentina v West Ham United FC - UEFA Europa Conference League Final 2022/23 Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

As usual, deadline day was a whirl of activity for Fiorentina. The biggest news, of course, was the departure of Sofyan Amrabat to Manchester United. The Moroccan’s saga came to a close right at the bell, with the English side agreeing to a year-long loan for €10 million and an obligatory fee of €20 million at season’s end, with another potential €5 million in incentives.

Amrabat’s Fiorentina career was uneven, but he was superb last season, and the Viola will miss his unique combination of physicality, tenacity, and passing through the middle. Without a world-class enforcer in the midfield, the team will struggle to win back possession as effectively and may be forced onto the back foot more frequently, as the current engine room contains nobody even close to the same profile.

Credit to Daniele Pradè and Joe Barone for sticking to their guns and getting a pretty good pile of cash for a player who everyone knew was finished in Florence; Pradè’s knack for staring down opponents and blinking second is his calling card as much as signing Balkan teenagers was Pantaleo Corvino’s. That steeliness resulted in the club signing a guy it was linked to months ago, even after the rumors petered out. Welcome Maxime López.

The 25-year-old midfield schemer arrives on loan from Sassuolo for a €1 million fee, with an optional clause of €9 million due next summer if Fiorentina wants to keep him. Lopez is well-suited to a high-pressing, quick-passing tactical plan from his years with the Neroverdi, so shouldn’t take too long to get his feet under him.

His signing does signal a shift in midfield strategy, as the Frenchman isn’t going to overpower opponents a la Amrabat. His game is all about finding space in the middle and moving the ball quickly. He may be able to play with Arthur Melo, although that may be too much stylistic overlap. However, given the Brazilian’s recent history of injuries, this is a clever pickup to offer plenty of cover for that role.

Back to the exit line: Luka Jović has left Florence and joined AC Milan on loan. At first glance, it’s a bizarre case of failing upwards, but the move makes sense for both sides. The Viola get out from under his €2.5 million salary and clear out a player who’d fallen behind Aleksandr fucking Kokorin in the rotation. The Rossoneri get a young striker who’s familiar with Serie A, has a big-time pedigree (albeit not recently), and could be an upgrade on Divock Origi as Olivier Giroud’s backup.

It’s a dry loan, since Jović was still technically on loan from Real Madrid, but Milan will pay his salary. It looks like Pradè has done an excellent job disengaging from a gamble that was cleverly executed and certainly worth the risk but ultimately failed to pay off. The only downside is that Christian Kouamé will resume his duties as the emergency 3rd-string striker, assuming Kokorin returns to whatever dank cavern he briefly emerged from.

Finally, the drama around Lucas Martínez Quarta’s move away ended with a silent fart. The Argentine defender was understood to be considering a move Spain, France, or Argentina in hopes of starting more games and working his way back into the international setup, but instead he’ll back up Nikola Milenković and Luca Ranieri. LMQ’s obviously talented but a bit of a liability; even so, it makes sense to keep him, as the only other option in that spot—Yerry Mina—is a new signing with a longstanding reputation for injuries.

And, with that, Fiorentina’s transfer window is closed. We’ll take a deeper dive on it in the coming days, but thank goodness it’s at least done.