Fiorentina are currently sweating over the situation with Federico Bernardeschi, the Number 10 reportedly making them wait for an answer over their contract offer of €2.5m per season. With clubs such as Inter, Chelsea and Bayern Munich queuing up to secure his services, Viola fans are undoubtedly anxious to hear whether their home-grown star will opt to stay in Tuscany.
And who could blame him?
The winger has faced a turbulent time under Coach Paulo Sousa, having yielded ineffective performances when deployed out of position at wing-back, and there is more uncertainty at the club with Sousa’s replacement this summer still unknown. He may have one eye on Inter when the Nerazzurri visit the Stadio Artemio Franchi, but Bernardeschi needs to stay a little longer, and here’s why.
The aforementioned stifling of his talent by Sousa is about to become a distant memory when the Portuguese boss moves on in the summer. Inconsistent tactical ideas from the Coach have resulted in the world at large seeing mere glimpses of the Italian international’s talent, with the stunning free-kick scored against Borussia Mönchengladbach a prime example.
Whilst the Nerazzurri have a larger budget and perhaps more realistic hope of Champions League football than Fiorentina, their Coaching situation is equally uncertain. Indeed, current boss Stefano Pioli may be heading to Florence at the end of the season, if reports are to be believed. Although ahead of Milan in terms of progress made after a Chinese takeover, they remain an unfinished article.
Meanwhile, the work of reinstated Viola sporting director Pantaleo Corvino has brought in the likes of Riccardo Saponara and Marco Sportiello, as the January transfer window provided a glimpse into what could be the start of an ambitious project.
Here, under a new Coach, Bernardeschi could be allowed to thrive and truly prove what he is undoubtedly capable of in a familiar environment without any risk before the World Cup commences in 2018. Then, either the Carrara native will grow into the role of the famous purple Number 10 shirt once worn by current Vice-President Giancarlo Antognoni, or he will leave to join a European super-club once the time is right.
Moving now – at such a crucial point in his career – could prove to be a fatal mistake. If Bernardeschi were to move to a larger side, he could find himself on the bench, or caught up in a raft of instability that sometimes comes with a club in transition, such as Inter.
Staying at Fiorentina is the safest bet. If the Viola go from strength to strength, the Number 10 could become the new legend the club’s fans have been seeking since the days of Gabriel Batistuta. If the team flounder under penny-pinching owners Andrea and Diego Della Valle, then he can move on after having been given the chance to shine.
Bernardeschi, given time, will become great. The only question remaining is where he will flourish.