Ok, can we all brace ourselves for an extended metaphor moment? Can you please remove your sarcasm shorts? Yes they are shorts because A) it's summer and B) oh yeah, you're so clever you could come up with a better joke right?
Anyways, here it is: If a Fiorentina scudetto were a 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle of the 102 story Empire State Building - didn't want to hit it too hard on the head and pick, say, the Duomo - then signing Mario Gomez could very well be floors 67-102. 20 floors for talent, 10 floors for being exactly what the team needs, 3 floors for symbolic value to both team and fans, and 2 floors for hopefully giving a nice little scare to Juve, Napoli, Milan, Inter, Lazio, Roma (I'm sorry Inter fans when you open your mouth about your young recruits all I can hear is GOMEZ GOMEZ GOMEZ). Obviously for this large chunk of interconnected pieces to fit into the bigger picture, the German Super Mario has to play the way we know he can, and Montella Style has to groove the way we know it can. But it sure is nice to have the spire of the building assembled off to the side, waiting to be slotted in.
We know that there are still pockets of sky missing (another defensive midfielder, the Ljajic and Jovetic drama, Europa League, LUCK) and in my opinion we have to move some pieces around at the bottom (a goalkeeper), but boy maybe this year it'll all come together and we can stop wishing the thing would stop giving us anxiety and start giving us joy. It certainly seems like most of the pieces are fitting together: coach, ownership, players, style, fans, and now a star.
Even the fact that I not only thought of this boring metaphor but also decided to call it a Fiorentina scudetto metaphor - instead of euphemistically saying that it is a "success" mechanism, or a "Champions League" watercolor, or a "contention" sculpture - the fact that I can somewhat shamelessly dream of a 3rd Fiorentina title is the significance in our club shelling out the cash for a proven player of top international calibre like El Torero.
Perhaps I should have more cautious optimism, appraising the facts while noting positives like Jonathan Wilson did in his excellent piece for the Guardian this week, but I can't do it. I was young when Fiorentina chased the title in 98/99 (until Batigol got hurt and Edmundo went back to party in Brazil), but I remember that true thrill of the Viola being at the tip top of Serie A, and still hunger for it. I am prepared to be disappointed, very prepared in fact... but I am also excited to truly dream again, and this team already has us flying. It's only right that we spend a little time with our heads in the clouds admiring our new skyscraper.
Other Serious News
Borja Valero has now rejoined his teammates for training at Montecatini after the death of his mother. The thoughts of all of us here at Viola Nation are with our great Borja and his family at this sad time. With this news and the passing of both Stefano Borganovo and supertifoso Mario Ciuffi in the past couple months, there has been a great deal of sadness in the Fiorentina family alongside mercato joy. It felt wrong to not empathize with their pain in writing somewhere on the site.
Ok we can all put our sarcasm shorts back on, that's more than enough earnestness for one day. Glad I picked something exciting like a jigsaw puzzle for my hopeful content. Next week: limericks and different nicknames for the only-somewhat-not-really-overweight Adem Ljajic.