Rolando Mandragora

Fiorentina’s premier blasphemer remains enigmatic as ever. While his ability to smash in the occasional artillery shell or pop up for the odd back-post header is nice, he’s bizarrely uninvolved in buildup (51 touches/90 is fewer than infamous ghost Antonín Barák) and offers little defensive cover (1.99 tackles+interceptions/90 isn’t a great number). Too often, he was a passenger who only materialized to pop a speculative effort 15 yards over the bar, almost like a long-range Marco Benassi.

Stats: 50 appearances (2881 minutes), 5 goals, 4 assists, 11 yellow cards

Best moment: No contest.

What’s next: As the only midfielder under contract, he’s almost assured a place in next year’s squad. Whether he continues to play big minutes will depend more on the summer mercato than anything else, you’d think, but he’s not a bad depth piece. Just a weird one.

Grade: C From the random goals to the Torino background, he really is Sniper Benassi; not a bad player to have, necessarily, but frequently a frustrating one.

Arthur Melo

Brought on loan from Juventus, the Brazilian desperately needed to resuscitate his career and did just that. He was incredible on the ball and dominated Fiorentina’s buildup through the first two thirds of the pitch; only 8 midfielders in Serie A averaged more touches/90 than him, and he was 8th in passes into the attacking third as well. He even demonstrated plenty of effort defensively (2.85 tackles+incterceptions/90) although he failed to effectively screen the defense and wasn’t all that influential near the goal. He dropped off in the latter part of the season, but he was still one of the better players in the XI on balance.

Stats: 48 appearances (2880 minutes), 2 goals, 4 assists, 3 yellow cards

Best moment: Not at all emblematic of his season, but how about the icy penalty in the 103rd minute on matchday 38 at Cagliari for the win to assure the Viola a Conference League berth next year?

What’s next: Fiorentina won’t trigger his €20 million option due to salary concerns, so he’ll return to the Juvenuts, who’ll likely try to shift him elsewhere unless he can impress new boss Thiago Motta.

Grade: B+ I was skeptical but he was excellent on the pitch and professional off it, even if he tailed off towards the end of the season.

Alfred Duncan

Ever the forgotten man, the Ghanaian did what he does every year, which is provide competent, vertical play in the midfield. He’s not a ball-winner despite his reputation for physicality, and perhaps that’s why every Fiorentina coach chooses to ignore him, but his ability to zip the ball into the attackers’ feet provided a directness that the squad otherwise lacked. As ever, he played less as the season wore on, mostly so Jack Bonaventura could drop into midfield, but he remains the single most underrated guy in the team. In an alternate universe, he’s a key part of teams that won the Coppa Italia and Conference League.

Stats: 41 appearances (2471 minutes), 2 goals, 5 assists, 2 yellow cards

Best moment: The 2-2 against Lecce early in the year. Assisted Nico González from a corner and then added a thumping header for the second while hitting the post moments later. The subsequent collapse wasn’t his fault, so just enjoy Alf bossing things for 45 minutes.

What’s next: His contract expires at the end of the month and it doesn’t sound like there’s any interest in renewing it, so prepare your farewells. At 31, he’s definitely still got enough in the tank to play in Serie A.

Grade: B Revelatory through the first half of the season and formed a marvelous partnership with Arthur, but fell from grace through no apparent fault of his own.

Maxime Lopez

A million euro loan fee and option to make the move permanent for another €8 million sure looked like great business for a scheming playmaker with years of Serie A experience in a pass-first system, but it just didn’t work out. Lopez’ skillset overlaps with Arthur’s and the Brazilian was simply better on the year. The diminutive Frenchman’s inability to hold up physically saw him bundled off the ball too easily, and he wasn’t able to counteract that weakness by imposing his will in the final third. It’s a damning indictment that he was the 4th or 5th option even in this sputtering Viola engine room.

Stats: 34 appearances (1679 minutes), 1 goal, 2 yellow cards

Best moment: The 6th goal against poor Čukarički was entirely unnecessary but it was a goddamn banger.

What’s next: He’ll return to Sassuolo but the Neroverdi will likely try to sell him again. This year was bad but his previous body of work means he should have plenty of suitors, especially with a contract that runs out in 2025.

Grade: D Had every opportunity to make himself a key cog and failed to do so even as Vincenzo Italiano chopped and changed his midfield on a weekly basis.

Gaetano Castrovilli

After his failed move to Bournemouth last year, it seemed like the Castrovilli era in Florence was petering out in the saddest possible fashion as he recovered from another knee surgery; he even lost the 10 shirt. After a bunch of work, though, he got back to the pitch (wearing number 17) at the end of April and proved surprisingly decisive, scoring at Hellas Verona and chipping in vital assists against Cagliari and Atalanta as he found his feet in style.

Stats: 6 appearances (370 minutes), 1 goal, 2 assists

Best moment: That equalizer in Verona was special. It was a great goal, but you could feel Tanino’s emotion through the screen after scoring. What a moment.

What’s next: This story may have a happier ending than any of us expected, as Fiorentina’s reportedly in negotations with Castrovilli for an extension after the player had a positive meeting with Raffaele Palladino.

Grade: A The stones it took to come back after everything (even if some of it may have been on him) are commendable, and proving decisive after such a long layoff is miraculous.

Gino Infantino

Brought in as a raw but promising 21-year-old, there was never any real expectation that Infantino would contribute to the first team right away. Sure enough, he was fastened to the bench and demonstrated why that was for the best in his rare cameos. He clearly hasn’t caught up to the speed of the game and, while he’s undoubtedly got lots of potential, he just wasn’t ready for Serie A. On the plus side, he actually played, so he’s already ahead of the Hernán Toledos and Octávios of the world.

Stats: 9 appearances (208 minutes), 1 assist, 2 yellow cards

Best moment: This isn’t me being mean, but I don’t think he really had one. He technically assisted Lopez’ goal against Čukarički but that wasn’t really much.

What’s next: He’ll try to impress Palladino over the summer and earn a spot in the rotation. It’d be great if he did, as that would mean one less player to bring in, but a more realistic expectation is probably a year on loan somewhere to find his feet and get minutes, then an attempt to win a job in 2025-2026.

Grade: D He wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan anyways, so it’s not fair to slate him, but dang did he not look ready.

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