If real-life honeymoon periods lasted as long as their footballing equivalent, you would fear for many couples even making it up the steps to the airplane. Some would glance at William Hill bonus odds on a divorce during the exchange of vows. The glorious chanting at the arrival of new owner Rocco Commisso in Florence is already in danger of being drowned out by the grumbles about a lack of significant acquisitions. Whatever happened to for better, for worse?
Nowhere have the gripes been more acute than on the attacking front. In a city which has seen the glory of Gabriel Batistuta, Alberto Gilardino and Luca Toni, last season was a particularly forgettable one of the goal-scoring front. When Marco Benassi is your top league marksman, then something has gone badly wrong for your first-choice strikers. And if you find yourself starting to think wistfully about the days when you had Nikola Kalinic, then therapy might well be the only answer.
It wasn’t meant to be this way, mind you. Just a year earlier, the whole situation seemed much brighter. Giovanni Simeone had just completed a pretty promising first campaign in a purple shirt with a more than respectable 14 goals to his name. Most people agreed he was on an upward trajectory.
However, that troublesome second season - when the whole Viola team was pretty abject - saw his stock slump. In fairness, the players around him were hardly creating many chances for him but, nonetheless, he struggled for form. It is all well and good to tell a striker that he will not be judged by goals, but everyone knows that, deep down, it is the only currency that really matters. And El Cholito has fallen on pretty hard times of late.
You could argue - with some justification - that deadly finishing was never his main stock in trade. Hard graft and grinta are a huge part of the gene pool with the Argentinian forward and his tireless work-rate has always been one of his main selling points. Sadly, there is a case for saying that it is precisely that dedication to the fight which has reduced his effectiveness in front of goal. You never saw Pippo Inzaghi dropping deep to help out his defence, did you?
Here is where I will insert my traditional plea for patience which everyone ignores.
If Simeone was going to improve his art, what better teacher could he have than Fiorentina’s new Coach Vincenzo Montella? How many times have we seen a team dump a frontman only for him to go elsewhere and start banging in the goals? Might it be hasty to ditch him after just two seasons when, after all, he is still only 24? Let me throw the name Ante Rebic into the ring for Viola fans to mull over.
And yet, and yet, he seems from all indications to be yesterday’s man - not that the names being linked with the club are ones to set the pulse racing either. Chicharito Hernandez was one rumour and Fernando Llorente another, both decidedly long in the tooth. They missed their chance - if ever there was one - for Patrick Cutrone and the latest suggestion has been Pedro from Fluminense.
In the meantime, in have come Pol Lirola, Kevin-Prince Boateng and the returning Milan Badelj. Add up the goals haul likely to come from those three and it won’t take you long.
Football fans, of course, are like children: they want everything and they want it now. It would be great to keep Federico Chiesa and stick him alongside a 20 goals per season striker - that is what everyone at the Artemio Franchi would love. But that kind of thing never happens easily and it rarely happens overnight. Anyone who truly holds those famous purple colours dear should really give the new ownership a little bit more time to deliver the goods.
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