This time Federico is not going to Turin. Only two years after Juventus snatched up Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina, the Bianconeri tried to do the same with another young talent that is blossoming at the Artemio Franchi.
However, this time the champions were dealing with a completely different customer compared to the Bernardeschi days. La Viola’s new ownership, ambitious project and revived enthusiasm proved to be enough to keep Federico Chiesa out of Juve’s reach and the fans are loving it.
In fact, despite bringing in a certain Franck Ribery to Florence, keeping Chiesa was arguably the cherry on the cake of what was at least on paper a very positive summer transfer campaign for Fiorentina. The club’s main focus was obviously to bring in experience, as putting Chiesa aside, the very young and talented Viola squad underperformed heavily under both Stefano Pioli and Vincenzo Montella.
Despite bringing in the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Martin Caceres, Erick Pulgar, Pol Lirola and the return of Milan Badelj, Fiorentina started the season in terrible fashion. The two consecutive defeats against Napoli and Genoa show that the Aeroplanino is probably not the right man to lead the club into this new era.
However, even if Montella’s future is uncertain and he's one of the favourites on sbobet to get the sack first, there is little doubt that Chiesa will always be the first name in the starting XI, regardless of who is sitting on the Viola bench. This is arguably the most important thing for the 21-year-old at this stage of his career, as very often we’ve seen players at his age making such a move way too early and struggling for playing time afterwards.
It’s worth saying here that, if Chiesa had the final word, he would’ve probably moved to Turin in a blink of an eye and that is perfectly normal. Sentiments count for little these days and every young player can benefit immensely if sharing a locker room with Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianluigi Buffon and Giorgio Chiellini.
However, although being visibly upset with Fiorentina’s decision not to let him go initially, we should assume that the ambition of Rocco Commisso’s project and the faith that the club showed in him, played a huge role in convincing Federico to stay. Taking a closer look at his namesake in Turin shows that this might not be such a bad outcome for Chiesa.
Despite maturing significantly at Juventus, Bernardeschi was unable to cement a place under Max Allegri and it seems that the situation won’t be very different under Maurizio Sarri. The 25-year-old was one of the players that struggled with Allegri’s constant shift of tactics and formations, as he proved to be useful in various roles, but failed to shine in any of them.
In theory Sarri’s 4-3-3 formation should be perfect for Bernardeschi, but with Ronaldo and the rejuvenated Douglas Costa occupying both wings, the expectations are that the ex-Fiorentina man won’t be starting games too often once again.
And if Bernardeschi, who is starting his third year in Turin, is struggling to find space in the Bianconeri starting XI, what are the guarantees that Chiesa wouldn’t find himself in a similar situation, if he made the switch?
The truth is that this new-look Fiorentina has plenty to offer beyond the guaranteed playing time. The overall lack of character in the Viola side last term forced Chiesa to become a leader and take responsibility and that’s exactly what makes the Italy international unique.
There are plenty of youngsters who have the skill, the technique and the pace, but showing character and bravery in tough moments is something that players at this age rarely do.
Ribery’s arrival also gives Chiesa the CR7-esque figure that was missing in the Viola locker room, as despite being 36 years old, the Frenchman is arguably the closest to Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in terms of pedigree and experience.
When it comes to Fiorentina, keeping Chiesa was a no-brainer. The Bernardeschi money received from Juventus three summers ago didn’t really help La Viola’s cause and breaking the relationship between the board and the fans at the very beginning of the project wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do.
At this stage the new Fiorentina board managed to keep their talisman, fan favourite and most prized asset, while the player will still be getting consistent playing time in a familiar environment, as well as the opportunity to learn from some of Europe’s most experienced heads.
Only time will tell if the Chiesa decision was the right one, but despite the early bumps in Fiorentina’s new project, at this point it seems like a win-win situation for everyone involved.