With offensive-minded Raffaele Palladino hired by Fiorentina, Wayne Girard writes that the coach made a risky but enticing choice in his primary striker target, Moise Kean.

New Fiorentina boss Raffaele Palladino identifying Moise Kean as a primary target must have come as a surprise to many Viola fans. After all, the striker will now be playing for the fifth team of his career while still being just 24.

A few short years ago, it felt that he could have been a striker Italy relied upon, alongside his buddy Nicolò Zaniolo, who has gone on a similar merry-go-round.

Although still younger, as previously mentioned, Fiorentina very much feels like a last-chance saloon for Kean to prove himself at the top level and give one last sign that he can be part of a hopeful Azzurri resurgence. At club level, there’s a wish that he can finally be the solution following the Dusan Vlahovic fallout.

While Kean played just rotational minutes for Juventus this past season, this was contrasted by Luciano Spalletti’s keen interest in the Azzurri setup. Kean’s eventual omission from the national team is a point worth reflecting on, given Italy’s forwards’ dismal showing in Euro 2024.

Official: Juventus confirm Kean transfer fee as Italy striker joins Fiorentina

When Kean failed to make one of the cuts for European qualifiers in September 2023, Spalletti focused on the characteristics necessary for his team: “The centre-forward? There are centre-forwards in Italy, and there are players who are capable of wearing this shirt. I didn’t call Kean (and Scamacca) for the playing time, I called three others and I’ll go and meet them.

“Then it is clear that the physical one has very specific characteristics, but perhaps Raspadori is better at participating in team play. We will look for things and answers that are complete and can give us both, otherwise, we will try to overreach those who are well calibrated on certain characteristics.”

But less than two months later, Kean was back in the fold and was given gracious comments by Spalletti after Italy thumped Malta 4-0:

“As a winger, Kean had a great game… He did well in marking his man and making his physicality felt. I congratulated him for his display. He fought for every ball and then came very close to scoring.” Promising comments from the boss.

Kean must have felt like he was missing the bus every weekend, as players from Next Gen took precious minutes that could have persuaded Spalletti to take that final roster spot. Max Allegri seemed to prefer other options in his dogmatic 3-5-2 formation. A tricky shin injury that kept him out of action from December 2023 to March 2024 did the rest.

The forward had to have felt resentment with how the summer went for Italy. Gianluca Scamacca ended the tournament with zero goals and assists in four matches played, while Mateo Retegui and Giacomo Raspadori looked like fishes out of water.

Now, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make his bones and lead the attack at Fiorentina. Arthur Cabral, Lucas Beltrán, and M’Bala Nzola commanded hefty transfer fees to play ball in Florence, but all have been incapable of being reliable goal scorers (although we should show patience with 23-year-old Beltrán).

If Kean can find that powerful combination of serenity, confidence, and effort, he will become a fan favourite under Curva Fiesole as he approaches what can be the best years of his career for Florence and Italy alike.

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