Return to Form: Fiorentina’s Vlahovic Has Found His Goal Scoring Boots

Fiorentina have not had a lot to cheer about so far this season but young Serbian striker Dušan Vlahović’s return to goal scoring form has been a silver lining for the Florence-based club.

Having recently just turned 21, Vlahović is starting to fill his obvious potential. On the radar of numerous European clubs from a young age (Vlahović is the youngest player to feature in the Belgrade derby at just 16 as well as being Partizan’s youngest debutant and scorer) it was Fiorentina who snapped up the promising striker.

His early life in Tuscany did not go to plan. After his signing was made official in January 2018, Vlahović only went on to make 10 appearances as he failed to impress then manager Vincenzo Montella spending the majority of his time with the Primavera squad.

The season after Montella was replaced by Giuseppe Iachini, who inserted a 3-5-2 formation and made the striker the tip of his attacking spear. Alongside Italian Federico Chiesa, Vlahović netted 6 goals in 30 appearances (13 starts), a modest return but most importantly he had been given a platform on which to display some of his incredible ability as he helped guide La Viola to 10th spot in Serie A.

This position was not enough to sway the board from removing Iachini and bring in club legend Cesare Prandelli. However, Prandelli did not succeed to move the famous old club forward and, when he resigned, they soon moved back to Iachini to halt the slide down the table. Vlahović though has been a constant.

This season has seen the Serbian take the next step and is the clubs current leading scorer with 13 goals whilst also laying on 2 assists. Confidence seems to be key with the striker: During the first half of the season he only contributed one goal in the first 10 league games but, since mid-December, he has plundered 14 goals.

With ever changing attacking options around him, Vlahović is an ideal fulcrum through which his side can attack. He leads the line with authority; standing a strong 6ft 2, the Serbian is ideal to find with a variety of passes receiving 9.55 progressive passes per 90 mins, a clear sign of the trust he now has from his teammates knowing he will retain possession.

His attacking base is a well-balanced one combining clever runs and movement with a composure to carry the ball forward when presented with an opportunity. The Serbian does not stand still and consistently moves to find the best opening in the pitch to create that half yard of space either to receive a pass or to get away a shot.

Ultimately, strikers are judged on their goal scoring output and Vlahović seems to have found his range. Blessed with a devastating left foot, it seems nowadays if the striker gets half a yard of space to shoot he will hit the target. His shooting output has increased year upon year at the Artemio Franchi as well as his accuracy and will undoubtedly be looking to finish the season by reaching 20 goals.

The future for Fiorentina is potentially bright, with new owner Rocco Commisso in place and ideas to build their own stadium. Whether Vlahović is a part of the club going forward remains to be seen with the player once again beginning to attract interest from rival clubs and there are whispers he could be an ideal replacement for current Roma striker and captain Edin Džeko. The two share an eerily similar style of play, one that would see Vlahović fit perfectly with the improving Giallorossi.