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Thursday February 8 2018
Fiorentina frenzy

The recent victory against Bologna halted a four-game winless run, but Nick Valerio warns the problems run far deeper.  

It was June 2017 when joint owner Diego Della Valle officially announced Fiorentina were on the market and it’s been a tumultuous seven months since.

The Viola were stripped of their prized assets in the summer, losing Matias Vecino and idol Borja Valero to Inter, while leading marksman Nikola Kalinic joined Milan. Each man has been missed this campaign and the failure to replace three leading players has understandably incensed a fanbase.

Stefano Pioli’s team are unrecognisable from last season and the absence of Federico Bernardeschi is the most glaring. The talented wide man was of course snared by bitter rivals Juventus and the champions revelled in inflicting more misery on the Florence outfit. Bernardeschi is one of their own, and this one hurt.

From a footballing point of view, the Italian offered the stardust to an otherwise workmanlike team and enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Kalinic. If Milan Badelj had his way, he too would have left and the Croatian has made his feelings perfectly clear on numerous occasions now.

New arrivals included Giovanni Simeone, Marco Benassi and Nikola Milenkovic and the trio all shared one fundamental attribute in common: potential. Fiorentina had effectively lost their spine and failed to buy like-for-like replacements and this is a recurring theme. Marcos Alonso and Mario Gomez departed in 2016 and Stefan Savic the year before that.

The malaise the club find themselves in is nothing new. The Gigliati’s record buy is still Nuno Gomes at just under £15m. A reasonable fee until you consider the striker was signed almost 18 years ago. The game has moved on, but the Viola have made no effort to keep up, instead gambling on youth to prosper.

Tensions have finally come to a head this term for a proud set of fans. After the embarrassing 4-1 home defeat against relegation-threatened Verona, the tifosi made their feelings known, protesting outside the stadium and the dissension is unlikely to end soon.

On the field, the Viola’s short-term prospects are bleak. Out of the Coppa Italia in December and with no hope of European football, supporters must look on in envy at Lazio riding high in third spot. Simone Inzaghi’s troops have been a joy to watch and the natives are perfectly entitled to believe they can compete with the high-fliers.

The two clubs are of similar stature and regularly played out classics in the nineties at a time when both were on an even footing. Now, the cold hard reality is they are on different paths. While Lazio’s trajectory continues to soar, Fiorentina’s is going downhill.

The capital club have reaped the benefits of President Claudio Lotito building an exciting and fresh squad in the face of neighbours Roma. After years of playing second fiddle, the Biancocelesti are well on course to finishing above the Lupi this campaign. 

The likes of Simeone and Federico Chiesa offer great hope to Fiorentina, but the starlets need a mentor. It shouldn’t be on their young shoulders to lead the side and it’s apparent the mass exodus over a sustained period has caught up with a club who choose to operate on a miserly budget.

Fiorentina are now at a crossroads. Another summer is on the horizon and the Della Valle brothers don’t seem prepared to give up their stranglehold just yet. A new stewardship would ideally be at the helm before the post-season to assess and draw up targets, otherwise the next campaign will be no different.

Do Diego and Andrea commit to spending what it takes? The luxury shoe and leather goods tycoons have a personal wealth to rival the Agnelli family and, in time, could take on the best if they were fully invested in the project.

The city is football mad, in dire need of energising, but the mood in the terraces has visibly dropped and there is no idea what the future will bring. Fiorentina are an attractive proposition despite the uncertainty and remain a respected and prestigious club in Italy.

In the meantime, it could be about to get even worse when arch enemies Juventus visit Florence on Friday night. The Bianconeri supporters will be eagerly anticipating the trip and won’t pass up on the opportunity to stoke the flame, so the atmosphere could get toxic unless the Viola clinch the three points. 

Have your say...
@Ravanelli True. FI's wording is problematic. Tbf, the decision took ~5 minutes so that can be called farcical. Didn't look like a handball to me but that's my bias.

Let the rest talk. They're the ones convinced that VAR will fix everything, forgetting that it's supposed to make decisions more accurate (in yesterday's case, must be said that it was).
on the 10th February, 2018 at 9:43am
Frenzyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy

GREAT, GREAT WIN BY JUVENTUS!

Truly magic!

Totally deserved............
on the 10th February, 2018 at 9:09am
Fiorentinah needs to remember the time. Like mj and batistuta. Lolololoolol losers . Simone and cheese sticks hahahahahaha
on the 10th February, 2018 at 3:41am
For anyone that says "FootballJuve" instead of Football-Italia..

In the match report:
"but VAR wrongly intervened to turn a Viola penalty into a Juve free kick"

Not to mention the poll in the liveblog:
"Was that the most farcical use of VAR yet in Serie A?"

Seriously?

1- The handball itself was controversial. You never mentioned that like you did with that Dybala penalty vs Milan. Both close range and the arm on that one was even further than the body.

2- Alex Sandro was FOULED. Simeone fouled Sandro forcing him to play the ball.

3- Sandro's pass was forced. It was a definite offside.

Even the BT commentators agreed that the referee made the right decision.

FI, you should have at least tried to be neutral.
You can say it was "controversial", but "farcical"? Come on..

It was a foul before it was even offside. There was noway in hell that was a penalty.
on the 10th February, 2018 at 1:27am
Even still Fiorentina played today an amazing game and even as a Juve supporter i was a bit disappointed that they didn't come away with at least a point. Juve certainly won it on experience but the dedication the fighting spirit the desire Fiorentina was far better. It's too bad that the owners don't see this and try to invest more into a great club with an excellent fan base
on the 9th February, 2018 at 11:54pm
There does seem to be a serious drop off of support from the owners of the club in the past 8 years. On balance collectively they have run a 15 million euro surplus on transfers. More over the wages despite a inflated market seems entrenched. Even in the market when valero rossi gonzarlo cuadrado arrived it was supported by player sales and more importantly the villareal fire sale after their relegation. I will give the valle credit they did stabilise the club but they are holding it back.
on the 9th February, 2018 at 10:38am
Frenzy in Firenze.

They are hyping up the match more than needed. This will backfire.
I expect Juve to thrash them.

As for the state of the club, well, that's like beating a dead horse.
Once they finally get someone ambitious to buy the club, then we'll have something interesting to talk about.
on the 9th February, 2018 at 4:07am
Firenze have gotten worse every season. Selling all their star players, and never showing any real willingness to improve their squad. The list of players gone is growing too with Sanchez sent to Spain in January. Alonso, Cuadrado, Valero, Vecino, Rossi,Bernardeschi, Salah, Sanchez, Rodriguez (c) , Savic, Neto, Fernandez, Vargas, and Ilicic.

Delle Vale and company need to go away.
on the 8th February, 2018 at 9:05pm
Fiorentina have been slowly going backwards for years now. They threatened to become a mainstay in the top 5 and European competition for several years running, but for whatever reasons, they've given up on that.

I said at the start of the season they were now a mid-table team, and that looks to be the height of their ambitions now.

It's a pity, because if they were run properly and kept their payers, they could get back to being a top 5 team with a strong fan base.
on the 8th February, 2018 at 3:06am

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