Fresh off the back of penning a five-year deal with Manchester City, youth prospect Lewis Fiorini has joined the Imps on a season-long loan.
Fiorini is Manchester-born and has been with the club since the age of six. He has yet to appear for their senior side, but in 2018/19 he did play four fixtures for their Under 21 outfit in the EFL Trophy, starting one and coming off the bench three times. He turned 19 last month and comes to the Imps on the back of his first senior season spent out on loan. He played in the Eerste Divisie (the same as Lewis Montsma) the second-tier of Dutch football, with NAC Breda, where his team finished fifth. They got all the way to the play-off final, where NEC beat them. At least that’s a shared experience he has with us!
Speaking to the club’s official site, Lewis said: “I’ve spoken with the manager, and he’s shown me some of the young talent that he’s worked with over the years. His plans along with Lincoln’s ideas really seem to suit me and I cannot wait to get going. Last year was my first season in professional football and I managed to settle down, break into the team and scored a few good goals too. I’m hoping to carry that on this season with Lincoln.”
He added that Morgan Rogers’ experience at the club helped seal the deal. “I’ve spoken to Morgan throughout the summer and as recently as yesterday. He was extremely complimentary about the club, he loved his time here, and only had good things to say. I’ve watched numerous Lincoln games and kept my eye out for Morgan last season. I remember the play-off semi-final match here against Sunderland and the place was rocking. I’m really looking forward to playing in front of the fans.”
His time in the Netherlands was certainly considered a success, as he appeared 32 times for the side, bagging six goals and three assists, including one of each in a late-season win against Volendam, the highlights of which I’ve included below. His growing potential and exciting form earned him a callup to Scotland Under 21s, for whom he has now appeared twice. He plays in central midfield, wearing the number six for his club last season, and scoring more than just a couple of long-range thunderbolts. He loves arriving on the edge of the box and having a dig at goal, and it paid dividends last season.
Speaking of his first loan, it seems Fiorini was looking to add to the physicality of his game. In an interview with City Xtra, he said of the move: “City were more wary with other ones in terms of physicality and style of play, but when this one came up, they had no doubts and I was happy as well. The style over here in Holland it’s not too physical, there’s more emphasis on the technical side but at the same time there is enough of the physical side of the game to help me develop so I think it’s the perfect balance.”
He had hoped to be around the City first team, but in the same interview seemed open to a loan spell to keep building his experience. “I’m just trying to play as many games as I can, just gain experience,” he added. “If I can go back to City next summer with 20-25 games, that’s going to help my development a lot. Say I’ll be back at City next pre-season, I’ve just got to see where it takes me, give my best. Whether next season it’s another loan, it’s a move away or I can get an opportunity in and around the first team again next pre-season. I have just got to see where it takes me.”
With him being awarded a five-year deal with Man City, he clearly has potential, and it seems that hot on the heels of Morgan Rogers’ successful loan here, we’ve now been earmarked as a trusted club for City youngsters to get their first senior English football. It’s a good thing too – these are technically gifted young players with the ability to change matches. We desperately need to add goals and assists to our current selection of players, and Lewis Fiorini is a player who seems is capable of doing just that.
That’s not just hyperbole from me either. Vital Rangers felt he would be a good loan signing for them at the top of the SPFL, stating that Steve Clarke should get him capped at full international quickly, such is his growing potential. That’s a big endorsement from observers of Scottish football and points to this being a Morgan Rogers-sized coup for Lincoln City.
Having come through the ranks at the same time as Phil Foden, Fiorini is clear on where he wants his career to go, telling Sport Bible: “From him (Foden) being a little boy at eight years old, he’s been on the exact same pathway as me – coming through every age group and then when he became a scholar or full-time, he went straight into the first-team set-up. I’ve gone on loan and done different things but to see him in Champions League semi-finals and being the star man, it shows you that the pathway is there if you do the right things and work hard enough.”
A few of the stunning goals he bagged for Breda and a handful of assists to go with it, and he’ll be well on his way to impressing his employers come this time next year.