Roy Hodgson wanted new attackers at Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace but Serie A outfit Fiorentina nabbed Christian Kouame instead.
Christian Kouame saw a move to Crystal Palace collapse due to an ill-timed injury blow, Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has admitted to CalcioNews24 during the £14 million forward’s unveiling at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
On the final day of the January transfer window, the Serie A strugglers completed a signing that gave their dissatisfied fan base something to cheer at last.
In Kouame, La Viola have added one of Italian football’s most exciting prospects to a squad already chock full with potential future superstars. The Ivory Coast international joined from Genoa in a deal which could rise to £14 million.
But, if it wasn’t for a cruel knee injury, Kouame would have been showcasing his explosive pace at Selhurst Park instead.
“Cristian had already been sold to Crystal Palace (but) the injury stopped everything and we took the ball,” Prade said, explaining how Fiorentina nabbed the 22-year-old from under the Eagles’ nose.
“Christian is a strong footballer. Buying an injured player in January may seem like a risk, but it is not.”
Kouame ruptured his cruciate ligament in November and is not expected to return to action until the summer. The fact that Fiorentina are still willing to invest £14 million in him highlights how highly the ex-Genoa star is rated in Italian football.
With Roy Hodgson clearly frustrated about Crystal Palace’s failure to bring some much-needed attacking reinforcements to Selhurst Park during the January window, missing out on Kouame in such frustrating circumstances will only add to the manager’s exasperation.