Tuesday July 7 2020
The reformation of Fiorentina

La Viola have put the threat of relegation behind them for now, but Owen Diana worries about how they’ll rebuild for Rocco Commisso’s ambitious vision.

As the dust settled after a convulsive weekend at the bottom of Serie A, Fiorentina could breathe a huge sigh of relief. Barring a collapse of historic proportions, La Viola’s spot at the top table of Italian football is all but assured after a 2-1 win at Parma. Nevertheless, their laboured performance in a match that represented a huge step towards salvation further exposed the uncertain future of one of the country’s most important clubs.

La Viola are at a crossroads both on and off the pitch. It is unlikely current coach Giuseppe Iachini will be in charge next season, with the identity of his successor still up in the air. Goalscoring has been a major issue the last two campaigns, leaving fans harking back to the days when Gabriel Batistuta or Luca Toni donned the famous purple shirt. Meanwhile, owner Rocco Commisso’s efforts to replace the archaic Artemio Franchi have been met with resistance from local officials, casting doubt over plans to have a new venue ready by September 2023, or indeed at all.

Successfully untangling the bureaucratic web preventing the construction of a stadium will prove crucial to turning Commisso’s dreams of re-establishing Fiorentina amongst Serie A’s elite into reality. However, improving a team that has flirted with relegation in consecutive seasons will be just as important to securing a brighter future for the club.

The candidates to replace Iachini reflect Fiorentina’s upward mobility under Commisso. Daniele De Rossi has no experience on the touchline, but could develop into a world-class “Mister”. Unai Emery would come in hungry to atone for disappointing spells at European giants PSG and Arsenal. Luciano Spalletti is still one of Italy’s most respected tacticians, and a son of Tuscany. The profiles of these coaches are vastly different, putting the pressure on Commisso to decide what kind of sporting project he wants to undertake.

Similar to the coaching search, the possible solutions to Fiorentina’s goal-scoring woes are filled with promise. The January signing of Christian Kouamé, who made his first appearance on the bench on Sunday, could prove a masterstroke. Joao Pedro has been one of Italy’s most ruthless marksmen this campaign, scoring 17 times for mid-table Cagliari. Yet, neither player guarantees the goals required to fire the Tuscans up the table next year. It remains to be seen how Kouamé recovers from an ACL tear suffered in November, while Pedro never registered more than seven goals in his four previous Serie A campaigns.

The urgent need for a forward who can find the back of the net with regularity was put into stark relief at the Ennio Tardini. Even though six league goals is a poor return for a player of his talent, Federico Chiesa is tied for the team lead along with Dusan Vlahovic and penalty specialist Erick Pulgar. After coming on in the second half, Chiesa, fellow substitute Riccardo Sottil and starting striker Patrick Cutrone missed a hatful of golden opportunities to put the game to bed. The case of Cutrone, who is on loan in Florence with an obligation to buy for €16m, is particularly worrying. After an aborted spell in England with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cutrone has only two goals in 13 appearances for his new club since joining in January.

Commisso’s commitment to helping Fiorentina restore past glories has excited a fanbase starved of success. Although the Mediacom founder is one of the richest people on the planet, Financial Fair Play restrictions prevent La Viola from relying unduly on his wealth. The increased revenue generated by a modern stadium would boost the club’s spending power, but in the meantime they must strike a careful balance between betting on potential and finding prudent solutions to their sporting problems. If they cannot, Fiorentina’s eternal promise may never be fulfilled.

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Have your say...
The politicians in Italy are so incompetent. New stadiums are not important, they are IMPERATIVE, if the clubs are supposed to do well in Europe. Allow the clubs to build.
Inter, Roma, Milan, Napoli, Fiorentina and Lazio need modern stadiums. They, together with Juventus and Atalanta, are the top of Italy.
on the 1st August, 2020 at 11:51am
I've always liked Sampdoria but I signed the petition to build the new Fiorentina stadium + made a small(optional) donation to raise awareness. It was easy to do on the violanation website. Yeah, they can look for alternative streams of revenue but I feel a new arena is essential in this case. It is an issue in Italy + it is holding some clubs back! The more clubs who show intent + ambition, while staying true to the fans, can only be a step forward for Italian football as a whole, surely?
on the 19th July, 2020 at 12:19pm
Frustrating issue with the stadium aside, I have not heard Commiso say anything about any other imitatives about increasing Fiorentinas revenue. Inter Milan don’t own their own stadium yet Zhang has dramatically increased their revenue. There must be other areas that can be explored?
on the 8th July, 2020 at 12:31am
When Fiorentina finally tried to include themselves in the top Italian clubs, the Della Valle brothers refused to invest both in the stadium and in the squad. Now the team is in between reinforcements. And finally Fiorentina have an owner who actually wants to spend money, but the Florence authority rejects his plans. Every building is having some monumental historical meaning. However, how do they expect Fiorentina or any other Italian team to progress with this way of thinking?
on the 7th July, 2020 at 3:06pm
I truly believe if the new San Siro does eventually get built both Milan clubs will become a serious force once again. In particular Inter who under Zhangs' ownership seem to be heading in the right direction. He's trebled turnover in the short time he's been at the club so imagine what a new 60,000 seater stadium with all the surrounding commercial activity would do for them.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 9:14am
Yet we only have a handful of clubs that own their stadiums and only Juve have a finished one. Just look at how the stadium transformed them from finishing mid table after calciopolli to dominating every season since it was built and only getting stronger year on year thanks to the additional spending power. Haters will say Juve win because they pay reffs (I'm not a Juve fan) but the truth is they win because they plan better than any other club in the league.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 9:09am
As the article and comments say, the new stadium is absolutely key. There's no way that with the FFP as it is any club can generate enough revenue to buy top players without owning their stadium. It's baffling how difficult the authorities make it. I understand that historical architecture can't just be knocked down without any thought but at the same time the league/country in general has to move with the times otherwise Serie A will be left behind. This was obvious as long ago as 10 years ago
on the 7th July, 2020 at 9:06am
Build the stadium. The bureaucracy is stifling development. I can well appreciate Commisso’s frustration - and I don’t even support Fiorentina. Why are so few politicians in Italy (at all levels from local to national) not able to see beyond their own parochial self need? Mind you, that sums up most politicians from anywhere.
on the 7th July, 2020 at 8:01am
I've seen all the Fiorentina fans protesting in Florence over the lack of a new stadium! It's ridiculous. Even let them buy the Franchi, it has enough space to be a modern-ground. The councils or authorities ALWAYS find a way to scupper clubs' plans for a new/improved arena it seems! There has to be a middle-way for everyone concerned. Atalanta have probably shown one of the best ways to progress!
on the 7th July, 2020 at 7:40am
English model as if the only way is to tear it down n replace it with a non-descript, soulless, Lego-stadium. But even Man U n Liverpool have managed to stay put. They'll never have such an iconic, atmospheric,intimidating stadium ever again if they pull San siro down though. It's cheaper to start from scratch. It's just business but what about what the fans want? Still though, they build new skyscrapers in Milan almost daily it seems, so why can they not build new arenas in Florence/Rome?
on the 7th July, 2020 at 7:32am
Seriously!? Let them build a new stadium. If a club wants to progress and build infrastructure, then let them? Is it just a beauracratic web or is it corrupt? Do councils not want to lose yearly rent money from clubs, are local officials afraid of losing power if they give in to foreign owners or don't they want Italian football to grow? What is going on? In some cases I agree, surely with today's technology they could do the San Siro up to modern standards. They all go on about the
on the 7th July, 2020 at 7:21am

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