the failure of Arthur Cabral, appointed successor of Dušan Vlahović

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It’s been more than a year since Brazilian striker Arthur Cabral (24) left FC Basel in Switzerland to settle in the beautiful city of Florence to wear the mythical purple tunic of Fiorentina. By paying more than 15 million euros, a fairly substantial sum on the scale of Serie A for a winter transfer window, the objective of the Italian-American management of La Viola was nevertheless clear: to replace the Serbian striker Dušan Vlahović, who had left for arch-enemy Juventus a few weeks earlier, and the gesture of offering the Brazilian the number 9 left vacant by the Serb, carried a sacred symbol in the mind of the Viola.

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But 365 days later, the dream was overtaken by a sad sporting reality. The 24-year-old striker can’t get used to the game advocated by Italian coach Vincenzo Italiano. Its statistics are rather alarming, and its use continues to decline. Not to mention the few physical glitches he has encountered in recent months. Moreover, during the last winter transfer window, two Italian clubs – Udinese and Cremonese, probed Fiorentina for a sale of Arthur Cabral. Worse still, Daniele Pradè, sporting director of the Tuscans, would have actively inquired to find an offensive reinforcement during the month of January: Andrea Belotti (Roma), Duvan Zapata (Atalanta), Federico Bonazzoli (Salernitana) and Andrea Petagna (Monza ). Pure top strikers to back up a Luka Jović in fine form. Symbol that Cabral no longer fits into the plans of the Fio.

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A replacement that has become anecdotal

“The coach said that if I had scored in the second half I would have deserved a 10. I think so too, I will surely review these actions all week. But towards the end of the year, I had played some good matches. We started well, including myself who had a good game and scored. But we always have to improve. I could have scored an extra goal or an assist… We have to improve, when we have so many chances we have to score more to win these games”, Cabral said after a meeting against Monza when the championship resumed in January. The irregularity, the lack of realism and the inefficiency of the Brazilian begins to cringe.

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Of the 20 Italian league matches where his name was on the score sheet, Arthur Cabral has only started six times. A very low use which was further complicated by an injury to the hamstring of the left thigh, keeping him away from the lawns for almost a month. With the arrival of Josip Brekalo during the last transfer window, the confirmation of Luka Jovic at the forefront, the return to the rotation of Christian Kouamé or the development of wingers Jonathan Ikoné and Nicolás González, there is not much room left for Arthur Cabral in the offensive hierarchy, moreover with such worrying statistics (5 goals in 31 Serie A games, straddling two seasons).

The numbers confirm it. Dušan Vlahović was unstoppable in terms of impact and statistics. His production is difficult to compare today and it is not helping Arhtur Cabral to compare him, because the figures of the Serb are also those of a boy at the start of his career. To say that not all of his heirs have yet managed to reach double figures, even adding up all the competitions played, says a lot about the attacking fog that the Viola is going through:

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  • Dusan Vlahovic – 108 games, 49 goals
  • Christian Kouame – 67 games, 6 goals
  • Arthur Cabral – 37 games, 7 goals
  • Luka Jovic – 25 games, 7 goals
  • Krzysztof Piatek – 18 games, 6 goals
  • Aleksandr Kokorin – 11 games, 0 goals

The only glimmer of hope this season for Cabral: the Europa League Conference seems to be successful with seven appearances and two goals. Vincenzo Italiano trusts him in this competition and it will be important for the Brazilian to use every opportunity presented to see his rating, as well as his confidence, boosted again. Especially since the Viola is still in contention in the Coppa as well, where it will face the Cremonese in the semi-finals. The Italian coach will need to rotate to bet on these two cups since his Fiorentina is in rather bad shape in the league with a sad 14th position. This may be a situation for Arthur Cabral, author of a false start in Tuscany, to revive.

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