Vincenzo Grifo ~ SC Freiburg to Borussia Mönchengladbach ~ £5.4m
Unfortunately for SC Freiburg, this summer was one that saw the departure of two key attacking players that helped them secure an unexpected seventh-placed finish after winning promotion back to the Bundesliga. Both Maximilian Philipp and Vincenzo Grifo left the Black Forest for new pastures, and even though Philipp left for three times the money, the loss of Grifo will undoubtedly sting a bit more.
The German-born Italian spent two years dazzling for his former club to the tune of twenty-three goals and twenty-eight assists in just sixty-four combined appearances. Despite Freiburg’s impressive top-seven finish last term, they were the lowest-scoring side of any in the top-ten. The attacking success they did garner, however, arose in large part due to the contributions of Grifo.
Technically gifted, and brilliantly creative from wide areas as well as from dead-ball situations, Grifo rarely put a poor foot forward when featuring for the club. And it is his consistent performances, as well as his player profile, that caused Gladbach to secure his services for an amount far below his value.
Despite being blessed with many wide options, manager Dieter Hecking lacks players who are not only consistent in their overall level of performance, but consistent in their service as well. Grifo is exactly the type of player Gladbach need if they are to revitalize their efforts and put themselves back in the top-four discussion. He may just be one piece in the puzzle, but Grifo has all the ingredients to light a fire under Gladbach’s offensive struggles.