It’s no secret that Emiliano Mondonico is a Fiorentina supporter. But when he hailed the strike pairing of Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez, you got the feeling he was talking with his head just as much as with his heart.
“Fiorentina did really well on the transfer market,” the 66-year-old tactician commented. “Gomez may not end up as the Capocannoniere, but the Gomez-Rossi partnership is the best matched in the whole championship. I’m sure that they will be the most prolific pairing by the time the season ends.”
The capture of the German international has re-ignited dreams in Florence, those of a return to the glory days of Gabriel Batistuta and Manuel Rui Costa. His arrival means they now posses a frightening attacking threat which has the potential to take Italy and Europe by storm.
Having pulled off a remarkable feat in signing the mercurial Rossi for a cut-price €10m in January, the long-anticipated departure of Stevan Jovetic was a mere footnote at the start of a busy summer transfer window as the Viola beat off a host of top European clubs to land the coveted Gomez.
Generally considered to be one of the world's best in his role, he is a German striker of Spanish origin with proven European and international pedigree, coming into his prime years at the age of 28. Managing an impressive 75 goals in 115 games in his time at Bayern Munich, and touching down after the hugely successful treble winning season with his former club for an initial €15.5m, this is a player who is used to success and he will expect nothing less with his new employers.
Gomez, a pure finisher, is a player who generally relies solely on service from his more creative teammates, one unable to take a prominent part in build up play or create chances for himself. This should not be an issue, however, when we consider the amount of attacking and creative talent at the disposal of his new club.
He will have the offensive wing play of Joaquin and Juan Cuadrado, players who can take advantage of the imposing German's aerial ability with good deliveries into the area, and from the midfield more assists are sure to arrive from the hugely talented Borja Valero, the born-again Alberto Aquilani and David Pizarro. He may have had his struggles in his early Viola displays, but his brace against Genoa in Week 2 bodes well.
Rossi, on the other hand, was in many ways much more of a gamble. Although an Italian international familiar with Serie A after a spell at Parma, he joined the club after 18 months of inactivity following double knee surgery. Pre-season form and three goals in the club’s opening two Serie A games has seen Fiorentina vindicated in their decision to sign him. He is a player who will be hungry to get back to his best and will have a point to prove – especially with World Cup 2014 now on the horizon.
It does, however, remain to be seen if Rossi will return to be the player of old, much like Alessandro Del Piero who suffered similar physical misfortune with Juventus in 1998. New Jersey born Rossi plays in a similar role to that of Pinturicchio, and will be expected to provide the guile and creativity, supplying the towering German with assists as well as chipping in with more than a few goals himself.
The Rossi-Gomez partnership is reminiscent of the formidable Del Piero-David Trezeguet enterprise which terrorised defences up and down the country after the turn of the century. It is also a partnership which will have Viola fans dreaming of Europe and, possibly within the next few seasons, the Scudetto. And that would certainly be met with the approval of Mondonico…