Thursday August 2 2012
The Renaissance of Fiorentina

With a new management team, a bevy of signings and plans for a new stadium returning, Scott Fleming sees good things ahead for Fiorentina.

Sebastien Frey; Lorenzo De Silvestri, Per Kroldrup, Cesare Natali, Felipe; Cristiano Zanetti, Riccardo Montolivo; Marco Marchionni, Stevan Jovetic, Juan Vargas; Alberto Gilardino.

The 11 players that took Fiorentina to the cusp of the Champions League quarter-finals two years ago, giving eventual finalists Bayern Munich a massive scare in the last 16 after doing the double over and eliminating Liverpool. However, no-one in Florence wants these players to become legends. Because that would mean their achievements were an isolated event.

Ever since a scorcher from the left boot of Arjen Robben slammed into the top corner that cold night at the Artemio Franchi in March 2010, the club has been on a downward trajectory. Cesare Prandelli took the Italy job that summer, his successor Sinisa Mihajlovic then presided over a mundane campaign. They stuttered to a ninth place finish in 2010-11, yet he was allowed to limp on despite being despised by the fans, and the result was last season's shambles. Three Coaches, a 13th place finish and an unedifying scrap for survival, which was only secured in Week 37.

And the malaise hasn't only taken place on the pitch. Owners Andrea and Diego Della Valle – recently revealed to have a combined fortune of $2.3bn by Forbes magazine – so prominent during the Gigliati's glory years under Prandelli, have receded into the shadows, passing Presidency of the club to Mario Cognigni and shelving grandiose plans for a new stadium.

But as Fiorentina packed up and left Moena on Tuesday, the Northern town where their pre-season retreat has been spent, the mood was a very positive one. They have a new Coach, Vincenzo Montella, a new sporting director, Daniele Prade, and several new signings – Ahmed Hegazy, Cristiano Lupatelli, Facundo Roncaglia, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Juan Cuadrado, Emiliano Viviano, Francesco Della Rocca, Matias Fernandez and Borja Valero – with Alberto Aquilani very close to becoming the latest if the Liverpool Echo are to be believed.

Just as significantly, Andrea Della Valle has returned to centre stage, in typically ostentatious style, arriving in Moena by helicopter last Thursday for talks with Juventus target Jovetic and a Press conference which suggested his family is re-engaging with the club in a big way.

“There were obviously mistakes made, some of them my own, but I think we are now getting things right,” said the shoe tycoon. “This city and especially the fans deserve a team of the highest quality and we are working to build a side as good as that of a few years ago. We've had enough of the anonymous results of the last two seasons.” He even revealed that the new stadium plans are very much back on, promising ‘some interesting developments within the next month or two’.

Alessandro Gamberini, Valon Behrami and Montolivo are big losses, and the fact that some fans turned up at training in Moena wearing t-shirts depicting Diego Della Valle as a clown – above the slogan ‘where is the project?’ – proves that many supporters remain sceptical. Given how the last two campaigns have gone, perhaps they have a right to be. But at a time when so many other Serie A clubs are selling their best players or remaining relatively inactive on the transfer market, Fiorentina's spending spree could see them catapult back up the standings, and result in a toning down of the nostalgia for Prandelli and the class of 2010.

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Have your say...
football italia editors, can u please have a blog introducing seria a fans to the new stadiums planned all over Italy?!!
on the 6th August, 2012 at 8:01am
I like the new stadium plans for Fiorentina and Inter. Any other clubs having similar plans? Italian football need new stadiums to attract interest from foreign players and viewers.
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 7:17am
I think the capture of Matias Fernandez will be one of the signings of the season. Great player with a sweet left foot. We should seriously looking into signing Palombo as we lack a hard tackler in midfield. Forza Fiorentina!
on the 3rd August, 2012 at 12:22am
Adam, I don't disagree with you. Fleming though has implied that with the number of signings Fiorentina has made, they are going to have a successful session. Genoa has made many signings over the last two years but where are they?

Most of those players signed don't represent instant success. They represent a long-term project, more so than a club like Roma has done in their project. I would be very suprised if they finished in the Top 10 next season.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 11:53pm
Just keep promoting youth and you will be fine. It would be interesting to see fiorentina in the top of the table. Very nostalgic
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 10:30pm
They'll finish in mid table. Exactly where they deserve (although hopefully lower).
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 6:25pm

TOP FIVE - FINISH ABOVE LAZIO & MILAN (so long Milan don't get Kaka)!!

on the 2nd August, 2012 at 6:04pm
""Ever since a scorcher from the left boot of Arjen Robben slammed into the top corner that cold night at the Artemio Franchi in March 2010, the club has been on a downward trajectory""

No, since Klose scored the winning goal in clear offside in Munchen.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 3:07pm
Vito Doria big names dont always mean great things...
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 2:26pm
The problem for Florence is Italy's only 3 UCL spots, it will make it extra hard for them to be a big time club. It's a shame because Florence is such an amazing city.

With that said I think it would be a huge mistake to build a new stadium, they should renovate the Franchi in stages, first by building new curves closer to the field. The whole stadium can rebuild/renovated at 1/2 the cost of building a new ground outside of the city.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 2:24pm
Disagree with this blog. They have made signings but they aren't big names. Viviano and Cuadrado are good Serie A players but the rest aren't world-class names either.

I'd be surprised to see them finish in the top half to be honest. Montella is a good coach and did a fine job at Catania but this looks like a squad that will improve over a couple of seasons. The plethora of changes means that the team won't gel quickly.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 12:47pm
The only true loss suffered thus far is Behrami. Camporese and especially Nastasic are ready for full-time duty, and Valero is reputed to be superior to Montolivo. The Viola's big hole is in defensive midfield - hopefully Gargano or Palombo come to fill Behrami's rather large shoes.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 12:18pm
Congratulations to Pradé. During his time at Roma he did more damages than good things, but I have to say that he's carrying out a very shrewd and balanced transfer campaign. I think Fiorentina could be one of this season's surprises.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 12:11pm
The most importmant signing of the summer must be Daniele prade
Whom Been able to Do so much with so little.
This revolution should've happend last year already but then the
Della valle Brothers weren't ready to re Invest and cut theright People of the project.
I Can't help wondering the reason oriali turned the project down, prade
Seems to have given Space and an alright sack of Money to spend from
And don't seem to have being backtied at all so What was really the reason.
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 10:40am
Wow if only Fiorentina could rise again!!! serie A would be even better!!! Forze La Viola!!! Get Aqualaini and another good forward,
on the 2nd August, 2012 at 10:19am

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