Some of the best European clubs have been linked with signing Fiorentina striker Dusan Vlahovic and Kaustubh Pandey analyses which would be the best destination for the 21-year-old.
The situation involving Dusan Vlahovic at Fiorentina has changed many times in just a few months. At one point, the striker seemed destined for a long-term stay at the Artemio Franchi. Atletico Madrid and Manchester City had set sights on him during the summer transfer window, but both Fiorentina and the player opted to remain together. The 21-year-old even revealed he decided to stay in Tuscany, snubbing moves to bigger clubs.
Perhaps, for the same reason, Fiorentina hoped their academy product would sign a contract extension. Although his current deal expires in June 2023, Vlahovic is not among the highest earners at the club. His €800,000-a-year salary is not adequate for a striker who scored 21 goals in 37 appearances last term. The Tuscans offered him as much as €4m-a-year plus add-ons for five seasons. By signing a new deal, he would have become the best-paid player in the club’s history. However, Dusan decided against signing a new contract and President Rocco Commisso publicly admitted that the striker would not stay at the club beyond 2023.
As expected, a host of clubs have been linked with the youngster, including Serie A giants Inter and Juventus as well as Atletico Madrid and Manchester City. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, the Premier League giants are the most likely destination for Vlahovic at the moment. If not in January, then the Serbian hitman will undoubtedly play for a bigger club from next season, so we look at the options that the 21-year-old might have.
The Nerazzurri were linked with Vlahovic last summer and that was before they ended up signing Joaquin Correa from Lazio. However, with Alexis Sanchez likely to depart in January, they will still look for a new centre forward. As things stand, though, it will be hard for them to rack up €75-90m needed to match Commisso’s economic demands. A deal would only be possible on loan with an option or obligation to buy.
From a tactical point of view, Vlahovic would fit perfectly in Simone Inzaghi’s 3-5-2 system and would have a chance to thrive with an experienced striker such as Edin Dzeko and without the pressure of being Inter’s main star. Whether or not the Nerazzurri can afford his signature, in January or at the end of the season, remains to be seen.
No budget issues here. Pep Guardiola’s side failed to sign a striker last summer as Harry Kane remained at Tottenham. The ex-Barcelona boss has shown a keen willingness to play a team of midfielders, often using Phil Foden and Jack Grealish in a front two, almost eliminating the need for a proper centre-forward. At other times, Gabriel Jesus has been utilised in his prefered striker role. There is a feeling that the Kane saga will end with the Englishman heading to the Etihad at some point in his career. Vlahovic was certainly a target over the summer and if City do feel the need for a striker in the winter, the Serbian could become a concrete option again.
The German club have always been touted as potential suitors for the Serbian who could only move to Germany whenever Erling Haaland departs from Signal Iduna Park. It doesn’t seem likely that Vlahovic will leave in the middle of the season unless something extraordinary happens. That eliminates Dortmund as a concrete option for the winter transfer window. Haaland, in fact, won’t leave his club in January.
If a move comes about in the summer, though, it would fit right into what all parties would want. Dortmund would get some money from Haaland’s sale and Fiorentina may get the cash they need. Vlahovic would get to play in a system that allows him a lot of service and Dortmund would appropriately replace the Norwegian striker.
Spurs director Fabio Paratici said the North Londoners are not interested in Vlahovic, but would they change their idea if Kane leaves at some point in the near future? Probably yes. Tottenham were one of the prime suitors for Vlahovic in the summer and considering Paratici’s presence at the North London, the links made a lot of sense. There was even talk of the club looking to sign Vlahovic regardless of what happened with Kane’s future and anything of that type will make sense, keeping in mind that Spurs have constantly failed to sign a reliable rotation option for Kane.
Spurs, though, don’t offer Champions League football right now and it remains to be seen whether or not they will be able to do so at the end of the season. Vlahovic would be looking to play in Europe’s elite competition even if they may afford his signature.
As things stand, the Bianconeri are one of the clubs in pole position for Vlahovic. However, they have the same problem as Inter: money. The Old Lady may not sign a top player if not on loan with an option/obligation to buy. They did it with Federico Chiesa last term and the question is: will Fiorentina accept the same conditions with Vlahovic? The striker is happy to stay in Italy and, in Turin, the Old Lady would offer him Champions League football too, unless they collapse under Max Allegri this season.
Undoubtedly, the Bianconeri miss Ronaldo’s goals and the Serbian would become their leading man up front after the Portuguese star’s exit. Even though they need and want another centre midfielder, Juventus are yet to replace an iconic footballer such as CR7 and bringing in Vlahovic can be the right move, even though La Viola fans may not like it.
According to Tuttosport, the Reds are also interested in Vlahovic and it’s no coincidence they were linked with a host of other strikers (including Donyell Malen) in the summer. Perhaps, Klopp wants to add a pure centre striker forward to his side and not just a false nine like Roberto Firmino. Vlahovic is young and can press off the ball like Klopp would want him to do. He is playing in that sort of a system under Vincenzo Italiano right now and he seems to be fitting right in.
Having said that, Liverpool generally don’t spend buckets of money until they sell one of their star players. It doesn’t seem like any of Sadio Mane, or Mohamed Salah are leaving anytime soon and, financially, a move for Vlahovic would not make sense for the Anfield club, given the quality they already have, especially up front.