Stickers Swapping: Cutrone Joins Fiorentina to Revamp Season

If you ended up here and are older than 25 (well, maybe even if you are younger than that…), chances are you owned a football sticker album at least once as a kid. Transfer market sessions are pretty much like that: A stickers swapping exercise. Players come and go. “Got, got, need.”

The Cult of Calcio’s Stickers Swapping column brings you the best of the “calciomercato” trends and rumors, looking at who’s set to close the next big deal and who has already done it…  

Photo Credit: © Fiorentina / Twitter

Fiorentina confirmed the signing of young Italy international Patrick Cutrone from Wolverhampton Wanderers. The 22-year-old striker joined the club on an 18-month loan with an obligatory purchase in June 2021. The initial loan fee is €3 million, with another €15 million due to be paid next summer. A good deal for the Wolves as they get back exactly the money spent on him half a year ago.

After two very promising seasons at his boyhood club Milan, in which he managed to score 19 goals and assist another 5, the Rossoneri decided to let the Como-born hitman go. The move seemed surprising as the young man wanted to stay and prove himself at the San Siro. Most of the time, however, it’s not about what the player wants and Cutrone was offloaded to the Premier League side to pump some cash in his youth club’s balance sheets.

His brief spell at the Molineaux was however dubbed as a flop after he failed to win a spot in Nuno Espirito Santo’s starting XI, scoring just twice and never playing a full match.

La Viola, on the other hand, have had a terrible first half of the season, currently sitting 14th in the table and just 7 points above the relegation spots. After going winless for 8 games in the league, they managed to end the spell in last week’s fixture against bottom side SPAL. It was Cutrone’s debut match as he came onto the pitch in the 75th minute to substitute Federico Chiesa.

Cutrone built on his good start as he scored his first goal for the Viola in his second game, a Coppa Italia game against Atalanta on Wednesday which saw Fiorentina prevail 2-1 to advance to the Quarter Finals of the domestic cup.

At the beginning of the season, hopes seemed high at the Artemio Franchi Stadium as coach Vincenzo Montella seemed ready to continue building his squad and taking back Fiorentina to European football after taking over from Stefano Pioli last season. Earlier in the summer, American billionaire Rocco Commisso took over the ownership of Fiorentina from the Della Valle family and fans surrounding the team hoped for serious investment and a return to the glory days.

But even though a few big names joined the squad, Kevin Prince Boateng and Franck Ribery being the most resounding, things didn’t go as planned for La Viola. Both are clearly beyond their career peak and with just three goals between the two, it’s clear to see why the squad needs more resources, especially when it comes to their attacking setup.

Fiorentina’s top goalscorers this season so far are Erick Pulgar, Nikola Milenkovic, and Dusan Vlahovic tied on three goals each. While the chances of Patrick Cutrone single-handedly propelling this poorly constructed Fiorentina roster to the top half of the table seem slim, he could bring an oh-so-necessary breath of fresh air to their attack.

Known for his ice-cold finishing, predatory instincts inside the penalty area and high work-rate, Cutrone needs to work on his technique and link-up play in order to turn into a complete striker and make his former clubs regret him.

It looks like in Florence he may have the perfect partner in crime in the person of Federico Chiesa, a player with whom he is familiar since their Italy youth squads’ days. If they manage to click, the two could form a lethal partnership to bolster the Fiorentina’s attack, send the stands into dreamland, and finally bring back some joy to Tuscany’s main club.