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Mercato Roundup: July

As much as we may miss calcio, the transfer market has been anything but dull for Fiorentina.

Ilicic favors smaller firearms in celebrations than Batistuta once did.
Ilicic favors smaller firearms in celebrations than Batistuta once did.
Tullio M. Puglia

It is mighty foolish of me to write a transfer summary piece in the middle of what might be the biggest week of Fiorentina transfer news ever, but it is courageous buffoonery at least, brave folly, so I will plow onwards.

In case you don't know what happened on Monday - and if you are reading this, you probably do - this happened on Monday. The former Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez was presented to the Florence faithful in an exhilarating afternoon at the stadium. Other than confirming what we already know, that Fiorentina easily has some of the best fans in the world, it was also an exceptional moment for the organization, the Della Valle family, the city of Florence, and the Italian game as a whole; it is still being talked about to a large extent both in Italy and abroad (though it hasn't been much discussed in some choice Milan and Turin based media outlets, an omission which has some people quite miffed... I feel it is best to laugh at such things). Below is one of my favorite reactions to the announcement spectacle on Twitter:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Just in case you forgot, calcio is a dying form or football <a href=";src=hash">#snark</a> (well done Fiorentina) <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Beyond the Pitch (@BeyondthePitch) <a href="">July 15, 2013</a></blockquote>

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But the strangest and most wonderful part of this week is that the Gomez Mania (as incredible and exhausting as it was) is not the end of this team's ambitions, nor of its summer dealings. The good news this week seems in abundant supply. The once unhappy David Pizarro has met with the organization and will now stay for another year on an unchanged contract, which means our starting midfield could potentially be the same as last season's Three Tenors. Stevan Jovetic, who didn't appear to be attracting big offers outside of Turin, is by all accounts very near a blockbuster move to rejoin former Viola defender and countryman Matija Nastasic at Manchester City, with the reported fee being between €25-€28 million plus bonuses. Jovetic will reportedly earn €7 million per year, and could be confirmed by the end of the week.

The kicker to this deal finally happening? Once Prade and Macia are quite sure that JoJo has safely gone swimming in a big bathtub full of his fancy new British pounds, Fiorentina are allegedly set to announce the previously unaffordable Josep Ilicic, for an astonishingly low €10 million over two seasons (€3 million this season and €7 million the next for full ownership). The 25 year old Palermo playmaker has already been confirmed as a Fiorentina player by Palermo's crazy cat-lady and notorious coach-firing megalomaniac owner Maurizio Zamparini. He is a wonderfully talented and flexible trequartista with size and pace, who should thrive in the competitive and extraordinarily technical Fiorentina front line. Anyone remember this ridiculously good goal he scored at the Franchi several years ago? Let's hope for many more since he is wearing the right colors this time.

So where does that leave Fiorentina with a month of the summer transfer market to go? I looked back at my June article and some of the concerns are still the same now as then. While Montella and the front office have "given confidence" to Neto as our number one, we are definitely still in the market for a goalkeeper, with Cagliari's Agazzi and FC Basel's Yann Sommer the two hottest names. Additionally, Pek or not, we will eventually require another defensive midfielder or regista, though that may wait until January or next summer with Pizarro and Ambrosini currently enlisted to hold down the fort. There is also intriguing talk of Montella working with some of our many young and talented attacking midfielders such as Wolski, Fernandez, and Vecino, with the idea of adapting them into serviceable registas (it worked for Pirlo).

However, there are new and exciting rumors flitting about regarding Fiorentina's desire for a regista, with a new link to one of my favorite players: the young PSG and Italy international Marco Verratti. It is too early to tell if there is anything at all to the supposed agreement with the player, and he would definitely be pricey, but if this summer has taught us anything, it's that this Fiorentina continues to give us reasons to dream. If June was a month of anxiety and chaos, July has been about exhilaration and possibility, and August looks to be solely about anticipation. Even if no other purchases happen this summer, it's already been an exceptional mercato, and we can only thank the Della Valles, Prade, Macia, Montella, and everyone at this great club for bringing us such a show. The best part is that we the fans are repaying in kind: 17,000 season tickets sold and counting.

Sempre forza viola!

Ins: Mario Gomez, Massimo Ambrosini, Munua, Nenad Tomovic (from loan deal), Marko Bakic, Josep Ilicic (awaiting confirmation)

Outs: Haris Seferovic, Giulio Migliaccio, Michele Camporese (loan), De Silvestri (loan) Stevan Jovetic (awaiting confirmation)

Potential Line-Up (Depth In Parentheses) 4-2-3-1

Neto (Munua)

Tomovic (Roncaglia) G. Rodriguez (Hegazy) Savic (Compper) Pasqual (Alonso)

Pizarro (Ambrosini) B. Valero (Aquilani)

Cuadrado (Joaquin) Ilicic (Fernandez/Wolski) Rossi (Ljajic/Iakovenko)

Gomez (G. Rodriguez)