Borussia Mönchengladbach have signed Vincenzo Grifo from SC Freiburg, with the 24-year-old attacking midfielder penning a deal with the club that will run until June 2022.
Grifo came through the ranks at VfR Pforzheim in north-west Baden-Württemberg. Apart from a brief spell at Germania Brötzingen, he worked his way through all of the youth teams at VfR, which later merged with 1. FC Pforzheim to form 1. CfR Pforzheim. He fired their U19s to the Verbandsliga title in 2010, scoring 53 goals from the no.10 position. He then joined Karlsruher SC in the U19 Bundesliga for a year, before moving on to TSG Hoffenheim. He nailed down a starting spot with their reserves in the 2012/13 Regionalliga season, scoring five goals in his opening six games. Then TSG coach Markus Babbel brought him into the first-team squad as a result. Grifo made his Bundesliga debut in a 3-3 draw with SpVgg Greuther Fürth on 19th October 2012, before going on to make a further eleven top-flight appearances for Hoffenheim that season.
During the first half of the 2013/14 season, Grifo appeared eight times for Hoffenheim’s U23s before being loaned out to Dynamo Dresden. He spent most of his time there on the wing, scoring one goal in 13 second division games. He also appeared four times for Italy’s U20s – his Father comes from Sicily and his Mother from Lecce. Hoffenheim loaned Grifo out again during the 2014/15 season, this time to FSV Frankfurt. He became a key player for the side from Hessen and helped them remain in the division with seven goals and nine assists in 33 matches.
SC Freiburg acquired the services of Grifo and he had a hand in 29 goals as the side from Breisgau won promotion to the Bundesliga. Grifo became something of a set-piece specialist at Freiburg and led the second division’s assists chart with 15. He also scored 15 goals including six direct free-kicks. The strong dribbler adapted well to the Bundesliga: scoring six goals and getting twelve assists. He also missed three weeks of the season after suffering ligament damage in his right knee. He came back into the side towards the end of the season, playing the final three games and getting one more assist.