I’ll admit it. I was initially skeptical of Ianis Hagi. When he was a 16-year-old getting starts with Viitorul Constanța because his dad was the manager, I thought he was straight nepotism, served neat. But now, two years later, I’ve changed my tune entirely, to the point that I think he’s the best prospect in the Viola system.
Now that he’s opted to wear number 11 with the senior squad, he certainly thinks that he’s ready for a big step up, and we’re behind him all the way. Stefano Pioli seems to be as well, as the mister handed the 18-year-old Romanian several starts in the preseason. The recent arrival of Valentin Eysseric and the eventual recovery of Riccardo Saponara will probably keep him out of the starting XI, but he’s almost certain to play a major role off the bench.
He’s not a burner, but his languid style conceals a surprising burst and an ability to ghost past defenders before they know he’s gone. His eye for the killer pass will also stand him in good stead, as will his set piece delivery, which may be the best on the team already.
He should have something resembling a Federico Chiesa-type impact, coming off the bench and making the odd start, but it’ll be the change of pace he brings that should make him a star. We’ll be shocked if he doesn’t chalk up about 6 goals + assists and become the toast of Fiorentina and Serie A by the end of the year.