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Vlahovic message from Fiorentina owner as clubs chase Serbian striker

By John Skilbeck

Florence, January 13: Fiorentina president Rocco Commisso has urged Dusan Vlahovic to recognise how the club gave him his big break.

A host of wealthy European clubs are keeping a close eye on the 21-year-old striker, who is going from strength to strength with the Viola.

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid have been among the teams most recently linked, with Tottenham and Juventus also potentially keen on a deal.

Vlahovic joined Fiorentina as a teenager from Belgrade giants Partizan, making his Serie A debut in the 2018-19 season.

He has 18 club goals this season, netting on average once every 104.17 minutes. Only four strikers from Europe's top five leagues have scored more in 2021-22: Robert Lewandowski (31), Mohamed Salah, Karim Benzema (both 23) and Erling Haaland (19).

Commisso said in an interview with the Financial Times: "He developed here. And he should give recognition, whatever happens, to the club that got him to where he is."

Vlahovic is massively outperforming his expected goals (xG) total of 12.61, and that points to sharp finishing from the Serbian. Indeed, he has tucked away 80 per cent (12 of 15) of the opportunities defined by Opta as big chances.

That is the best big-chance conversion rate among all forwards with 10 or more goals in the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga or Ligue 1 this season.

Rumour Has It: Arsenal dealt Vlahovic blow as Man Utd eye up Lamptey moveRumour Has It: Arsenal dealt Vlahovic blow as Man Utd eye up Lamptey move

Fiorentina chief Commisso gave his interview to the newspaper in November, with the interview published on Thursday.

According to the FT, he said Fiorentina were "under active considerations as to what to do" about Vlahovic.

Fiorentina have a high-value player on their hands, but Vlahovic's contract runs only until the end of next season, when he could walk away from Florence on a free transfer.

He has turned down big-money offers to extend his deal, with Commisso saying in October that Fiorentina would have been willing to make him the best-paid player in the club's history.

Commisso, an Italian American businessman and billionaire, acquired Fiorentina in June 2019 and admits he has been amazed by the goings-on within football.

"The more I live here, with this crazy sport, the more I realise how screwed up it is," he said.

The 72-year-old also said he has poured money into Fiorentina and is not banking on a return.

"I'm not doing it for the money," he added. "Why do I need another 100 million, you follow me? I'm gonna lose money."

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Story first published: Thursday, January 13, 2022, 16:50 [IST]
Other articles published on Jan 13, 2022