As many readers of the Fiorentina page have been discussing this week, at least when not making photo manipulations of me as Gollum, (thanks, Slakas; I thought we were friends) Fiorentina’s elimination from the Champions League has led to a ton of speculation about potential transfer moves coming January 1st. If you read enough stories in the Italian sports press and on the internet, it would seem as if everyone on the club is being sold and that I’m starting in midfield on Sunday.
I think its fair to say that that will not happen. And, if you trust the transfer rumor-mill like I do, there’s a good chance NONE of these moves reported on now will come to fruition. However, a storyline that has not gone away over the past month has been the idea that the Viola will sell or loan one of their young reserve strikers. One popular rumor has my man Giampaolo Pazzini going to Palermo, Torino, or points elsewhere, while the other has Pablo Osvaldo going to Roma.
So let’s take a big leap for a moment and suppose that these rumors might actually be true and not just manufactured by two bored journalists or a 13-year-old boy posing as a Lazio front office official with special knowledge of the negotiations. My question to you is straightforward; which of these two players would you least like to lose, both for the short term and (if they are sold and not loaned) for the long term.
Here are the parameters of the argument as I see them. Both players are undoubtedly talented. Pazzini is more of a traditional center-forward, has a bit more experience, and has proved he can play at the level of Series A, with his impressive display last season. He’s good in the air and a good poacher. Also, by all accounts, Pazz is a good guy and a good person to have on the team.
On the downside for Pazzini is the fact that he is going through an ice-cold spell and he plays essentially the exact same position as Gila, who is certainly in better form right now and is probably and ultimately a better player. Also, Pazz plays center-forward, obviously a hugely important position, but he strikes me as the kind of guy who doesn’t have much flexibility and can’t really shift positions on the pitch. I also worry a little bit about his emotional makeup; when he’s down he seems to get really down, and probably needs to develop more of a striker’s mentality, the idea that he can miss his first eight shots but still score the winning goal in the 90th minute.
Osvaldo is a little different from Pazzini. He’s younger than Pazz, and I would argue that he has, to use an American sports term, a little more “upside” He can play in different roles in the forward part of the pitch (a crucial bit of skill in the Great Man’s 4-3-3 system) and he has ability that, at moments, can be breathtaking. His bicycle kick that secured a CL spot for the team last season was magnificent, and it is frankly hard to imagine Pazzini duplicating that bit of skill.
On the downside for Osvaldo is the fact that he has less of a track record; we don’t know if those glimpses of magnificence that we see are just glimpses or portents of things to come. There are also rumblings out of Florence that Osvaldo is a bit of a little bitch hasn’t been a good guy while getting so little playing time. This would be a concern since Prandelli runs a tight ship.
So let me throw it to you guys; if we have to lose one, which one does it hurt us less to lose?
I’ll be back soon with the Torino preview.