The meeting between Juan Cuadrado and honorary president Andrea Della Valle went ahead as expected this morning in Florence, but the tone and statements made by ADV were surprisingly frank and pessimistic on the possibility of retaining the Colombian star as a Fiorentina player, even for only one more year.
"If an important offer comes along, I have to leave him free to leave," was the refrain from Della Valle, who also observed that "the hope is still there [that he stays], but it's not a lot of hope." Inevitably, mentions of previous big money moves under his direction were made, where he did note that with Stevan Jovetic and Luca Toni, where the deals "always went how I said." But the script here seemed to be almost a "come and get him" announcement to the main pretenders for Cuadrado, with Manchester United the supposed frontrunners this week.
The decisive factor in Fiorentina now being open to sell was clearly the will of the player, but Andrea Della Valle was (as always) a perfect gentleman, and carefully did not say anything that would tarnish Cuadrado in the eyes of the fans. He described the Colombian as "serious," "prepared," and "professional," (gentle code for "unsentimental" and "eager to make more money"... although who can blame him?). When pressed on the intentions of the player and what he said, il patron did admit that "Juan has told me that 'if the train comes, he wants to catch it'... he wants to make the decisive step forward in his career."
Two important qualifiers might still complicate a potential Cuadrado transfer. The first is that Fiorentina will want to allow themselves enough time to make deals to effectively replace the Colombian and otherwise conduct their mercato, which should also mean that a move or two would (hopefully) go through BEFORE selling Cuadrado, otherwise clubs would play hardball to get more money from Fiorentina. If the Bonaventura rumors come roaring back this week, it's not incidental. Secondly, the past couple seasons have made clear that when the Della Valle set their price, no amount of negotiating will lower it. Unless what ADV called an "indecent" offer comes in - €40 million or more - Cuadrado won't be going anywhere, however much he would like to.
Now things will get really interesting, as Fiorentina's transfer business, both real and fictional, will explode into life this week. Hold onto your swim trunks everybody, and trust in our bosses in the back room, Montella, and if all else fails, keep calm and pass to Borja Valero.