One of the standout players of this Serie A season was Fiorentina academy product Federico Bernardeschi, who built on his breakout season of 2015-16 with an appearance at Euro 2016 (under Antonio Conte’s guidance) and then an even better 2016-17 that saw him set a new career highs in minutes played and goals scored as Fiorentina fell just a few points shy of making the Europa League.
The 23-year-old’s showings have put him on the radar of several clubs within Italy and beyond, including Chelsea. But La Viola are determined not to let one of their best players go, and according to Corriere Dello Sport, are looking to tie him down to a new long-term contract. Bernardeschi’s current deal expires in two seasons, so it’s certainly the right time for Fiorentina to push for a new one.
The left-footed Bernardeschi spent most of 2016-17 playing in support of Fiorentina's main centre forward, Nikola Kalinic, across central and wide positions as an attacking midfielder, winger and wide midfielder. A right winger by nature, Bernardeschi bagged 14 goals and 5 assists in 42 appearances for the club. Our very own Joe Tweeds listed Bernardeschi in his Summer Transfer Notebook, calling attention to the kid’s great work rate, balance, technique, and creativity. If that sounds like an ideal combination, that’s because it is.
To keep hold of Bernardeschi for as long as they can, Fiorentina are offering a €2.5 million per year for the next five years, until 2022. To sweeten the deal, they would also make the young attacker the "central piece" of their squad, though this is a role he was already fulfilling last season. If that sounds like something that Chelsea can easily outbid, that’s because it is.
Should Bernardeschi refuse to sign, Fiorentina would apparently expect nothing less than €45m, with Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, Juventus and Napoli all monitoring the situation. For what it’s worth, the highly unreliable Premium Sport have already claimed that he’s put in a transfer request.
Many eyes on Bernardeschi then, and with good reason since he is a player who exudes class on the pitch with his refined technique and high quality play. With Chelsea looking for another option in attack as well as a capable backup to Eden Hazard after his injury, Bernardeschi could be an ideal signing, and one with whom Conte’s already familiar, too.