Oh hey class. Didn't see you there. I mean obviously I did, this was the scheduled time and this is my job or, like whatever. Hope everyone had a good opening weekend eh? *winks* Anyways let me tell you what to think, in a vaguely inspirational fashion that glosses over my obvious failures in my personal and professional life.
Finding objective standards of measuring a goalkeeper (well, measuring anything, but I will leave the metaphysics for October when we are all a little bit smarter) is relentlessly difficult to do. Some Romanian tweeps have been trying to convince me that Ciprian Tatarusanu - a name that I can now spell without googling - is the second coming of Dino Zoff. He may indeed prove to be very good, but we have seen little of him yet, and despite European and international experience, I am unsure that Ciprian has had to suffer anything like the kind of terrifying fan scrutiny that Florence provides for all its new goalkeepers. For now we can comfortably say he looks a good, low-cost second choice keeper behind last season's comeback kid Norberto Neto, and someone who could comfortably step in if (God forbid) Neto has a crisis of confidence or an injury.
First choice: Neto
Defenders: 6.5 / 10
Oh you thought I would stick to the same grading system all the way through? You must be new around here. And conventional, yawn. Here's a copy of Dante's Inferno, find a nice place near the lake to read it. Yes, we have a lake.
We retained our better defenders, and finally sent away the popular but infuriating Facundo Roncaglia to Genoa for a year. I'm still not convinced by the platoon of Manuel Pasqual, Marcos Alonso, and Juan Manuel Vargas on the left-hand side, although their individual deficiencies may be covered by a 3-5-2. I'm also unsure as to why Cristiano Piccini left on loan after such a good preseason, although Vincenzo Montella will clearly be very hopeful Micah Richards can recover the barnstorming form he had at Manchester City two years ago, even though this mercato seems to be asking a couple Jesus vs. Lazarus moments of him already with the addition of Marko Marin. Jose Maria Basanta has the potential to be a real coup.
First choice: Gonzalo, Basanta, Savic with Cuadrado and Pasqual on the wings (3-5-2) OR Richards, Gonzalo, Savic, Alonso (4-3-3).
Juan Cuadrado, David Pizarro, Borja Valero have all stayed. So we will remain a *good* midfield at minimum, although, class, beware the Law of Diminishing Returns (which we will cover in January). And, at the same time, it is unclear what else we DO know. Jasmin Kurtic a good, hardworking player who has never played in this good a team, Milan Badelj having never played in Italy, and Joshua Brillante raw and likely shaken from a debut he never should have had, at the Olimpico in Rome. Oh, and Marko Marin isn't fit yet, and we don't know where Montella will want to use him. In conclusion, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Hopefully a coherent and consistent system and effective rotation can return the midfield to the ideological center of Fiorentina play under Vincenzo Montella while integrating the new players.
Can I mention Cuadrado again? You know what, screw the rules kids! Be the master of your own spiritual headspace! I am mentioning Cuadrado again! He freaking stayed!
I partially give this department the Wayne's World seal of approval because I am glad that behind the stars we are entrusting the talented youth we have had for a while now with some playing time, as opposed to giving that time to rubbish temporary veteran benchwarmers (see: Pandev). I wish we could have flogged away Iakovenko and Mounir El Hamdaoui, and am a little disappointed we never really came forward for Giacomo Bonaventura, although when Giuseppe Rossi is fit he would never play, and honestly he would only be a useful stop gap with the various tactical options that we have in attacking positions. And when you have a bench that will generally look like Marin, Joaquin, Ilicic and (one or both of) Bernardeschi and Babacar, you're doing alright. Let's just get the Mario Gomez freight train on track, and let momentum take care of the rest.
Alright, so... Well we apparently have a full half hour of class left, but I have nothing else planned. You know what, why don't you get out of here a bit early, so I can have a cup of decaffeinated green tea and hit on the school secretary. Also, forza viola.