Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade was again flexing his muscles in January. Giancarlo Rinaldi looks at the Viola’s transfer campaign.
Even neutrals were happy to see Giuseppe Rossi make his return to Serie A and give the League back a little of its lustre. The deal confirmed the good relations between the Viola and Villarreal and grabbed the early headlines in the transfer window. Still recovering from serious injury, he won’t be seen until the end of this season or the beginning of next but he remains a major coup for the Florentines. With goalscoring a problem, they are itching to get him back soon.
Why did they sign him?
There were a few eyebrows raised when the Tuscans moved to bring in Marcelo Larrondo from near neighbours Siena. His reputation in Italy is not particularly high, but he was seen more as a squad-builder for Vincenzo Montella rather than a regular starter. With Mounir El Hamdaoui seeming to be better coming off the bench and Luca Toni in his twilight years, another attacking option was high on the shopping list. Those who have seen him train swear he has major breakout potential.
Why did they sell him?
When he arrived at the club Mattia Cassani was rated one of the top right-backs in Italy and a great signing for Fiorentina. Unfortunately, he joined a team low on confidence and in a real slump and could not help turn things around. This season’s switch to a 3-5-2 formation has seen the more adventurous Juan Cuadrado favoured on the flank and left the ex-Palermo man surplus to requirements. His farewell message to the fans was a classy act from a model professional.
Most crazy rumour
The talk that Frank Lampard might fancy life on the banks of the Arno was one of the more absurd tales of the window. He may well be at the end of the line with Chelsea but it would have taken a huge wage cut to see him end up in purple. And yet the jungle drums had him eyeing a future in Firenze, with one website even duped into printing a picture which purported to show him in the Renaissance City. Still, the fact that there was even a link boosted the club’s profile.
Rubén Olivera arrived in the last January transfer window to little acclaim and with a suspension still to serve. Once he was actually cleared to play he proceeded to pick up another ban and contributed little to the cause. When he did feature, his input seemed to consist mainly of fouling opponents rather than creating anything for the team. A deal with that home for ex-Florentines, Genoa, was gratefully accepted by player and club.
The obligatory ex-Juve man
For all that direct relations have soured once more between Fiorentina and Juventus after the Dimitar Berbatov affair, the Viola seem to still have a fascination with the black and white colours. How else to explain a late loan move for Momo Sissoko? He does not really seem to fit with the style they have favoured this season. But he brings qualities the squad definitely lacked and may yet prove the doubters wrong – after having his ‘Hunchback’ removed.
The big question
How will the new boys to Italy adapt to Serie A? Daniele Pradè and Eduardo Macía have scoured the globe to find players. Marvin Compper had fallen out with Hoffenheim, Rafal Wolski is a talent but on his way back from injury and Matías Vecino an exciting gamble. If even one of them settles in well it could be a real boon to the club. If all three prove a hit, it will be a bit of a miracle.
If January had only brought Giuseppe Rossi it would have still been a good transfer window at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Few other sides managed a signing of such stature to boost their ranks, even if he will have to fight back to full fitness. That might be the one criticism of the acquisition policy in the shade of the Fiesole hills – most of their purchases look like players for the future, not for the battle in the shorter term. That could yet mean European football disappears over the horizon for another year.