While all Viola fans are looking forward with nervous anticipation towards Sunday evening’s showdown with AC Milan, (see Tim’s fine preview of the game here) I thought I would take a quick moment to recap what the club did in the transfer window, and see how reaction to those moves is going down in Firenze.
The big purchases, of course, have been Daniele Cacia, N'Diaye Papa Waigo, and Manuel Da Costa, while the most notable exits were Federico Balzaretti, Anthony Vanden Borre, and Michele Pazienza, a move Tim also chronicled in his last post.
The most important pickup for Fiorentina in this transfer window seems to be Da Costa, who may develop into an exceptional centre-back if some of the hype from the ‘net is to be believed. Cacia and Waigo are two for the future, although there are suggestions that both have the potential to be significant contributors to the club.
Of all the players leaving the club, I was most sad to see Vanden Borre go. What little I saw of him demonstrated promise, but like fellow transferee Michele Pazienza, he just couldn’t get a game at the Artemio Franchi. Happily, Vanden Borre and Waigo were exchanged in some sort of complicated half-ownership swap, so technically Fiorentina still owns half the rights to the Belgian. I do hope I can see him in the purple again soon.
So what are we to make of all this? Certainly, with all of the typically wild rumors that were going around during the transfer window (Mutu to Roma, Frey to Milan) I was glad to see all of our best players stay put.
However, it is clear that Prandelli, Corvino and company have decided to play out the string with the team they have. Even Da Costa, for all of the good things I’ve heard about, will still be a squad player in the run-in to the end of the season. Was this a wise move, seeing as Fiorentina is having one of its best seasons in a long time, a season when it is certainly a distinct possibility that they could make the Champions League? Should they have purchased one or two more players (another striker, a defensive midfielder) who could have pushed them over the top?
Some commentators are arguing that the team blew its opportunity to make the CL, especially with Udinese having a solid year and Milan hot on the club’s heals.
Other commentators, however, feel that team chemistry is an important factor in Fiorentina’s success, and that the club should be given a chance to defend what it has earned to this point in the season.
The club itself, meanwhile, has quietly announced that it has made a profit this transfer season without losing any of its major stars.
This does not (and probably should not) seem like a big deal to the average fan. We support the Viola because we like the football on the pitch, not the profits in the boardroom. But seeing Fiorentina turn a profit without selling its stars (at least not yet, anyway) reminds us of how far the club has come from a few years ago.
How Fiorentina will be affected by the new transfer ruling that Chris summarized in an excellent offside.com article (which can be found here) is an issue for another day, but as a fan of a medium-sized club, it is an issue that scares me to death.