We’ve known for quite some time that Fiorentina really wanted to get Josip Brekalo out of the team, and that the Croatian—desperate for playing time to earn a spot in his national side for the Euros this summer—was ready to move as well. After the collapse of a move to Dinamo Zagreb a couple weeks ago, the Viola have instead agreed to ship him to Hajduk Split, who released a mystifying video announcement to celebrate.
Sreća nije cilj koji treba postići, već način života koji treba odabrati. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fXSSSXMPYk— HNK Hajduk Split (@hajduk) January 29, 2024
It’s a loan deal until the end of the season, with the Bili agreeing to pay a €100,000 fee for the loan and another €100,000 if they win the league; considering that they’re in a tie for first with Rijeka (who beat them yesterday), it’s a distinct possibility. The downside, of course, is that the Viola are likely on the hook for some or all of the winger’s salary, which totals €2+ million a year; that’s considerably more than clubs in Croatia can usually afford, so he’ll still get a giglio on his paycheck every week.
It’s probably a good move for Brekalo, who’ll join recently-signed compatriots Ivan Perišić and Nikola Kalinić in the Adriatic city. He may not start every game but should at least feature more often, given that Vincenzo Italiano had gone to extreme measures to avoid using him recently, including a shift to a 3-man defense for the first time in his career.
Getting rid of Brekalo doesn’t just remove an open and unapologetic homophobe from the squad. It also opens a precious roster spot which Fiorentina needs to bring in a new signing (which could, this being Fiorentina, be Gaetano Castrovilli). At the very least, at least we won’t have to see Brekalo continue his descent into Florence-era José Callejón: lacking the athleticism to beat his man, the technique to prevent the ball from bouncing off his shin every time he receives a pass, and the motivation to do anything whatsoever.
It’s just a loan, though. Remember that Brekalo’s contract runs until 2026, so we’ll get to watch Daniele Pradè try to find him a foster home for the next couple summers too. Let’s not let future concerns impede present joy, though. Fiorentina’s most underwhelming player is, at least for now, gone.