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Back To School

Fiorentina enter the final week of the summer mercato having left their transfer homework to the last minute.

Dawww. Photo
Dawww. Photo
Gabriele Maltinti

I have always spent far too much time making "to-do" lists, calendaring every event, and otherwise obsessing about how I will spend my future time, but in high school all of that didn't matter. My summer homework got done at the last minute. I now wonder if Daniele Prade and Eduardo Macia - the two directors who captain our transfers and roster decisions - are similarly inclined, and have this year surprisingly slipped back into high school mode when they went on holiday to the beach for Ferragosto, merely saying "let's leave all those annoying transfers we still need to do for when we get back."

And now, all of a sudden, the season kicks off on Saturday and September 1st follows hotly after that, and the problems in our roster won't add themselves up. Leave aside for a moment that we haven't brought in quality players in positions we need them in. If you look at the roster, you see Aleksandr Iakovenko, Mounir El Hamdaoui, Andrea Lazzari, Steve Leo Beleck, and at least one defender who will never even SEE the field. Rafal Wolski and Leonardo Capezzi should also probably go off on loan to get minutes in them at a competitive level, while no one even knows if the 21 year old Brazilian "Octavio" is real, or just some kind of ambiguous code word we've invented for "overloaded roster." Some of these moves should have been done ages ago.

Certainly "The Juan Cuadrado Saga" - which, barring some freakishly last-minute and atrocious new development, is mercifully dead until January - stalled much of our summer dealings. But that is no excuse for not finding a way to get Lazzari, for example, off of our books. Similarly, why haven't we had a plan in place to make a couple additions (a defensive midfielder and a terzino) even without the massive funds that Cuadrado's sale would have brought?

In other words, I have been very confused by our strategy this summer. We have added two players in the position that we have the most depth (Octavio and Marko Marin), a low-cost gamble of a veteran central defender (Basanta), and a versatile depth addition to midfield (Brillante). And that's it. There is still time for our technical staff to pull back the curtain and unveil a couple of masterstrokes... But if that's been our plan, we are leaving it pretty late.

The coming seven days will either be very busy, or this summer will be a lukewarm bust for Fiorentina. We will still be a good, competitive team, and sure, we retained Cuadrado so we won't have gotten worse. We may even have a better season (I am hopeful in this respect). But that alone shouldn't qualify as a great transfer window, not when you have aspirations of winning things. The past couple summer mercato seasons we have seized the opportunity to get better (MUCH better) with shrewd and carefully programmed maneuvers. I'm not sure why we have decided to spend this one on the beach.