Federico Chiesa is highly-rated by many in Italian football. Now an Italy international, the Fiorentina star’s career is on the up. He’s one of the most important players for La Viola and could potentially leave in the summer of 2020. Having said all that, Chiesa’s career hasn’t hit as many highs as many thought it would.
At the age of 22, Chiesa often cuts a frustrating figure. He seems to be that sort of a player who doesn’t exactly know what his best position is. His decision-making in the final third is still questioned and it makes for very strange reading, despite all the hype he gets.
Now into his fourth straight regular season at the Artemio Franchi, Chiesa’s highest goalscoring tally stands at six from the last two seasons. This season, he has a tally of three goals and three assists while playing 19 games in the Serie A.
Under former manager Vincenzo Montella, Chiesa had once developed a very good pairing with summer signing Franck Ribery. But the injury to the Frenchman saw Chiesa operate with different partners in the likes of Dusan Vlahovic and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Under new manager Guiseppe Iachini, he’s playing beside Patrick Cutrone. This instability hasn’t been of help.
He did start off as a regular right-winger in the 2016-17 season, but his gradual use in other positions overtime has seen his output drop. Because of those constant changes, Chiesa has failed to have one brilliant season like his predecessor Federico Bernardeschi had before moving to Juventus.
As for Bernardeschi, he had contributed to 19 goals in the 2016-17 season– his highest till date. That campaign had seen him play a variety of positions and don a key role under Paulo Sousa. But playing in a side in which he isn’t the only focus of attention has been one of the reasons for his downfall at the Old Lady.
Like Bernardeschi, Chiesa has neither had a big season nor has he shown on a consistent basis that he can play for a club like Juve or Inter. His work rate can’t be questioned- it is top-notch sometimes. But he can’t rely on just that in every game to get a bigger move.
Since his emergence, Chiesa has taken over three shots per 90 minutes in every season. That is a good thing to do and that is why stats show of underperformance in his XG. But it also screams of wastefulness, considering he doesn’t score enough either. And that is the sort of confusion that Chiesa has become. There is little certainty about him, despite him being 22.
His run in the Coppa Italia for La Viola was impressive. It included a sensational hat-trick over struggling Roma in a 7-1 win and a brace against Torino. But after the hat-trick, he could score just one goal in the Serie A- a very definition of what Chiesa currently is.
It is no coincidence that all the glittering performances in the cup came when he was playing on the right. And that is the position in which Roberto Mancini has been constantly playing him in the Azzurri jersey. Even for them, Chiesa broke his duck only recently. His first goal for the country came after a 16-game long wait in the 9-1 game against Armenia.
He is likely to be part of the Euros squad for the summer, with Nicolo Zaniolo now out due to an ACL injury. And it presents a chance for Chiesa to capture everyone’s attention on the global stage.
But the summer of 2020 will also give him a huge chance for a move away from the Artemio Franchi. The situation he is in could probably be resolved by a constant way of coaching him that moulds him into a furnished player. He won’t be too bothered by a move to England either, considering how fluent he is with the language.
Fiorentina owner Rocco Commisso has already expressed his love for Chiesa and his abilities. He was keen on keeping the Italian in the summer of 2019, because of that. But the club should know that for a player who hasn’t been developing as per plan, the upcoming summer might be the right time to get good money and move him on when the price is still high.
What Chiesa needs right now is an identity. It is a lot like what the situation of Raheem Sterling was at Manchester City before Pep Guardiola came to the club. The Englishman didn’t know what his best position was and hadn’t improved much since joining. But under Guardiola’s consistent and system-based coaching, he has thrived as a real star.
Chiesa needs that- someone who can give him his identity back. Fiorentina might not guarantee that. A bigger club might.