The last time Florence got this excited, it ended badly. Mario Gomez was greeted by thousands when he arrived - but left via the back door while few were looking. Fans will be hoping for a much different storyline with Franck Ribery.
If nothing else, it has allowed the Viola to pinch some front page space in the sports papers from the usual suspects. He may be 36 years old, but the Frenchman remains a high profile figure in the global game. It looks like something of a statement of intent from the new American ownership.
Some have dismissed him as over the hill, but the acquisition has to be seen in the context of recent purchase policy at Fiorentina. Supporters have got used to a diet of young hopefuls or last-shot-at-glory journeymen. Against that backdrop, Ribery provides vital experience, international profile and has nothing left to prove in terms of reputation. At the very least, he should furnish a merchandising and season ticket boost.
What he contributes on the pitch remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the thought of him teaming up to attack the flanks with Federico Chiesa while someone or other leads the line is an appetising one. Opposition sides will likely be a little more nervous than they otherwise might have been. At least against the lower tiers of Serie A, he should be able to spread panic among defences.
But it is more about the psychological impact than any playing prowess that Rocco Commisso's team has made the move. It says this is a new start, it speaks of some ambition and it has created a buzz among ‘tifosi’. All of these things were unthinkable just a few months ago.
It is there that Ribery's arrival brings incalculable benefits. He is helping to restore a feel-good factor that was underlined by the Curva Fiesole urging its team on even as it fell behind to Monza at the weekend. Under the Della Valle boys, those cheers would undoubtedly have been jeers or - even worse - stony silence.
So the former Bayern Munich man may or may not deliver a big leap forward on the field of play, but that is only one aspect of his purchase. What is more important is for the new owners to be seen to start delivering on a promise to put Fiorentina on the world map. A player like this is also vital at a squad which is still long on youthful talent but short on proven performers. His knowledge of how to compete at the very highest level is as rare as the finest truffle.
A handful of goals, a few more assists and a finish back in the top half of the table would represent success for Ribery and the Viola this season. Of greater significance are probably the smiles and enthusiasm which have greeted his acquisition. It was a long time since fans in purple got this carried away and there is nothing wrong with that. Part of the pleasure of supporting is being able to dream and, until a ball has been kicked anyway, that has returned to the Tuscan capital for a while.
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