Thursday January 16 2014
Matri’s chance at renaissance

Is a loan move to Fiorentina the ideal opportunity for Alessandro Matri’s renaissance? Jeremy Lim believes so.

One goal in 18 appearances. Expectations surrounding Alessandro Matri’s return to Milan may never have been high to begin with, but the magnitude of the forward’s struggles upfront this season have bordered on the ridiculous.

Watching the club part with €11m they could ill afford to spend to reunite with their youth product last summer, the Rossoneri faithful have spent all term gnashing their teeth in frustration as Matri played like the pressure was constantly bearing down on his back. With his main benefactor Massimiliano Allegri axed from the dugout, the misfit has exited on loan to Fiorentina for the rest of the season, with San Siro’s jeers still ringing in his ears.

Enter Viola boss Vincenzo Montella, the man with a need. Any Coach who loses both Mario Gomez and Serie A Capocannoniere Giuseppe Rossi, who hobbled off in his first match of 2014 after taking new ligament damage in his right knee, to crippling injury setbacks in a single campaign is bound to suffer.

Forced to reshuffle his pack last Sunday away to Torino, Montella started midfielder Josip Ilicic as a striker. Fiorentina duly drew 0-0. “We tried to win the game, but we didn’t manage it,” L'Aeroplanino sighed after. “It is evident we have been unlucky with Rossi’s injury, as there aren’t many great strikers on the market. Who is the perfect forward for our style of football? The one who guarantees goals.”

Could Matri be this ‘perfect’ interim for the flashy Franchi outfit then? Sporting director Daniele Prade, whose work in Florence has been characterised by sniffing out opportunity where others see none, appears to have made his choice.

After being trapped in a state of inertia feeding off scraps beside Mario Balotelli, a breath of fresh air would do the struggling Matri a world of good. Seeing perennial enigmas Robinho and Antonio Nocerino in support sheds some light on the 29-year-old’s paltry goal tally in Milan. The same complications should not arise again with creative forces Borja Valero and Juan Cuadrado behind him instead.

Never quite the A-list scoring presence fans craved since leaving Cagliari to join Juventus in 2011, Matri will likely still fall short of matching Rossi’s goalscoring greed, but he can regain some dignity in front of the Fiorentina support with his hard-working displays for the team. In spite of his failings at the top level, he remains a committed and reliable entity that has consistently won the backing of his Coaches.

Good value on the loan, the Italian international adds crucial depth and experience to Montella’s beleaguered strikeforce as they chase Champions League qualification for next term and strive for Europa League success. With his all-round game still intact, could Matri’s shrewd movement and clever interplay even see him good for a couple of Viola goals en route? Quite frankly, yes.

With no room for him now in the Clarence Seedorf-led era at his parent club, Matri may as well start getting comfortable in his new surroundings. If Montella can just invoke the same Midas touch as he did when first rehabilitating Rossi back to his full health, it might yet turn out to be a profitable stay.

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Have your say...
Not surprised that Matri had a great debut. He excels at being the CF in the 4-3-3. The best thing that happened to Juve, 3-5-2 formation, was also the worst thing that happened to him.
on the 20th January, 2014 at 9:20pm

Mid table team? Guess you haven't Watch the table then.
Fiorentina is a top 4 team just as it was last season.
Milan on the other hand that you compare whit isn't even among
Top 10.
on the 20th January, 2014 at 8:43am
Haha, midtable side? Don't know what club you're supporting, but i guess you're still mad about the 4-2 defeat, or the 0-2 defeat. We are 15 points ahead of Milan, and fighting for the Champions League spot, and doing well in the EL. So maybe it's frustrating for you, but we are getting betting by the year, and a constant top 5 team. Go and show your frustrations somewhere else. And about Matri, i'm very gratefull towards the Delle Valle family. Matri is the striker we need now. Ale viola
on the 18th January, 2014 at 9:21pm
I wish Matri best of luck at Fiorentina, he is not Rossi but is certainly no dud!
Considering the players behind him and the amount of games he may get this season, i can see him score a few important goals.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 4:14pm
@scottazzurri. Quags is very far from awful, what games have you been watching in the last 2 years, less not forget the champions league of last year. He's just a victim down the pecking order of a stellar Juventus team full of champions but he's no dud! That is for sure. Proven again give him play time he scores or creates better than a few 1st team players in the squad. Many of his goals were scored from the 70 yard line which is not bad for a 30 year old.
on the 17th January, 2014 at 3:09pm
I would be interested to see how pasqual and valero capitalise on matri as a pure box striker, it might demand a change in fiorentina attacking approach however in the fore mentioned players they have two of the best crossers of the ball in the league. As for the question I think he can be a success mainly down to the fact he will get a heck of a lot more first team football.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 6:36pm
@Nexus: The mid-table side is perhaps Milan, not Fiorentina.. you live in the past man, get actualized! lol.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 5:42pm
He did well at Cagliari, and when he joined Juve he kept scoring until the arrival of conte and his constant rotating of the strikers, so I believe he'll do good at Fiorentina
on the 16th January, 2014 at 5:14pm
As a Juventino, I wish Matri all the luck in the world at La Viola. At us he did look genuinely like a decent finisher. He was just unlucky that we went out and got a better target man in Llorente, and a harder worker in Tevez. I would rather from my own selfish point of view, much rather have kept Matri, and got rid of the awful Quagliarella..(Who it now seems is being hawked to Lazio....)......
on the 16th January, 2014 at 4:36pm
Nexus - The mid table team you said Fiorentina has 15 points more than Milan. I am not sure which one is bigger here.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 4:20pm
And so he's another Milan former youth team player who has falled by the wayside as a result of Galliani's utter incompetence. He can join a long list of players who could've made it but were outshone by giants of the game such as Ricardo Oliveira and Robinho. I wish him good luck at Fiorentina and hope he shows the potential that he always had. Better to be away from the madhouse.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 11:36am
When he signed last summer it was obvious to everyone except Galliani and Allegri that Milan needed a centre back. That was the main reason for his unpopularity in my view. He then had to compete with 7 other attackers for 2 - 3 positions. Not surprisingly he did not get a run of games. I think when he played he did okay. Obviously he was lacking in confidence and the fans were not behind him for the reason mentioned above.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 11:33am
Still a decent player. Maybe not good at big clubs like Juve or Milan, but I think he can do great at a mid-table side like Fiorentina.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 11:32am
Matri was a vitcim of Galliani's negligent transfer policies. He was in our youth team (i.e. he was free) and showed at Cagliari and Juventus that he could've stayed at Milan rather being crowded by players such as Olivera and fat Ronaldo (both players signed the season he went to Cagliari the former costing a laughable 17.5m). He then puts in a few decent seasons at Cagliari and moves to Juve where he helps them win the league. Then Milan decide to re-sign at the worst possible time.
on the 16th January, 2014 at 11:30am

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