Bartłomiej Drągowski’s time at Fiorentina has not gone smoothly. When he arrived last summer, he’d already spent two years as the number one for Jagiellonia Białystok, and he didn’t particularly enjoy riding the bench behind Ciprian Tătăruşanu, not even getting a chance in the Europa League or the Coppa Italia. Then Pantaleo Corvino brought in Marco Sportiello as the presumptive number one, setting another obstacle in the young Pole’s way. A knee injury kept him out for several months. He finally got a chance in the last game of the season and ended up shipping two goals to Pescara, although neither was remotely his fault.
This summer has been a little bit better for him. The sales of Tătăruşanu, Luca Lezzerini, and Giacomo Satalino (soon to be finalized) have firmly cemented the 19-year-old as Sportiello’s backup. Benfica did make an effort to pry him away a few weeks ago amidst reports of his frustration over a lack of playing time, but the Dragon eventually decided to stick around.
As his performance against Braunschweig demonstrated, he’s got a lot of learning to do before he surpasses Sportiello. However, Bart remains one of the most highly-regarded goalkeeping prospects in the world, just a step below Gigi Donnarumma. With a much clearer path to minutes now, he should feature in Coppa Italia matches, so let’s hope that the Viola make a deep run for his sake. Other than that, he’ll need to be ready in case Sportiello gets hurt; that’s his only other path to playing time, I think.
I still think that Drągowski is going to be a star. He’s big, strong, fearless, and has fantastic reflexes. A solid showing in training and in the Coppa might be enough for him to challenge Sportiello for the number one shirt next year. If not, I wouldn’t be shocked if he took a year on loan to get experience, then came back and gave it one more shot. He’s too good to be a backup for long.