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Valentin Eysseric needs to live up to his number

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The freshly-arrived attacker is in line for a big role, and he could rise to the occasion.

Brentford v Nice - Pre Season Friendly
Ready to be a big deal?
Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

As of now, the first thing any Fiorentina fan associates with Valentin Eysseric is the absurdly drawn-out transfer process that brought him to Tuscany. The second thing is probably what he’s most famous for: a horrifying tackle on Jérémy Clément that left the Saint-Étienne with a gruesomely broken leg. The third thing Eysseric gained international attention for was his scathing assessment of Mario Balotelli’s interactions with his Nice teammates.

These episodes rather overshadow Eysseric’s talent on the pitch, which is a shame. He is, first and foremost, a clever player who’s got a knack for finding space between the lines and wreaking havoc. He’s a wonderful dribbler and possesses a decent shot, but his passing and creativity are what really pay the bills. He’s certainly a level or two below Federico Bernardeschi, whom he’s expected to replace in the starting XI and the number 10 shirt, but he’s a talented lad and the Viola should be glad to have him.

Right now, Eysseric looks like a lock for the left wing, where he’ll spend a lot of time drifting inside and combining with Riccardo Saponara or Matías Fernández. While he’s not slow, neither is he a burner; his job will mostly be to break down packed-back defenses and provide a threat from set pieces. He won’t be able to win matches like Berna did, but he’ll be one of the most important pieces in the attack and should influence play in the final third as much as anyone else in the team. He impressed in France, where his primary brief was to feed Balotelli, and he should be ready to become a bigger and more important part of a bigger side.