As Matías Vecino, Khouma Babacar, and Federico Bernardeschi have shown, the Fiorentina academy system and high-flying Primavera teams are paying dividends. All three spent last season on loan and have fit seamlessly into Paulo Sousa's setup. The cupboard, however, is far from bare, and there are a number of potential stars still developing. Here's what they're up to for now, though.
The 20-year-old left winger is on loan at Latino in Serie B. He's shown enough in training to get a place on the bench 3 times this season, but has yet to appear in a game for them.
José María Basanta
The former Argentinean international seems to be hitting a rough patch for former and current club Monterrey, who've gotten just 7 points from their last 8 matches. Basanta has dropped to the bench for the last 2 games, in which los Rayados have gotten 4 points. Overall, he's made 5 starts, playing the full 90 minutes each time. Should he continue to ride the pine, it's conceivable that Monterrey wouldn't pay the fee to keep him and he'd return at the end of the season.
Steve Leo Beleck
The former Cameroonian U20 striker is thriving at midtable CFR Cluj in Romania. Now assured of his spot as the first-choice striker, he's been coming on strong, scoring 3 goals and notching 2 assists in his 12 appearances, although the goals and assists have all come in the past 7 games, including his most recent, a defeat against Hagi's Viitorul. Having already played for 11 clubs, the 22-year-old may finally be rounding into form good enough to assure him a permanent home, although it'll take some work for him to break into his parent club's deep forward line.
The hirsute 22-year-old Australian may finally be finding his feet. After a brutal introduction to Serie A against Roma last year, he's finally getting some minutes at Como in Serie B. He's made 3 starts and a pair of appearances off the bench, most recently a 2 minute cameo against Lanciano. While it was fair to wonder if he'd ever recover from those disastrous 45 minutes in Rome, the industrious midfielder could yet amount to something, although he's nowhere near the finished product.
One of the most talented youngsters loaned out is Leonardo Capezzi, now with Crotone in Serie B. The Italian youth international midfielder, now 20, has cemented his spot in the Pitagorici eleven, starting every game but one for them. Touted as a possible replacement for David Pizarro, Capezzi scored his first goal and the team's third in the 3-0 thrashing of Livorno. The Squali do have an option to buy him, so his situation could get messy at the end of the season if Fiorentina decide to keep him, as they'll have to buy him back for an undisclosed fee. If he keeps up as he has, though, he could have a Vecino-like impact next year.
A tricky winger who impressed sporadically in the preseason, 22-year-old Fazzi is doing well with Virtus Entella in Serie B. Most recently, he started in the 1-0 victory against Salernitana, but was subbed out at the half. He's now started 7 of 8 games for the Diavoli Neri, and seems to be progressing nicely.
Marione has settled in at Beşiktaş, now with 6 goals in 10 appearances. The big German has, weirdly enough, bagged all his goals in braces, including a pair against Fenerbahçe, which will no doubt endear him to the Black Eagles (which is a really awesome nickname for a club and makes me assume that Lemmy is a Beşiktaş fan); given his strong performances thus far, it seems likely his new club will pay the fee to make his move permanent at the end of the year. Honestly, couldn't be happier that he's rediscovered his form, even if it means Fiorentina will take a tremendous loss on their investment in him.
The 18-year-old Ivorian striker is on loan with Ternana, who sit in the drop zone at 17th place in Serie B. While Gondo was quite productive with the Fiorentina Primavera (44 goals in 96 games), things haven't been as easy with Ternana, as he has yet to make an appearance; indeed, he's only gotten onto the bench 3 times. With Ternana scrapping for every point, it's possible that manager Roberto Breda will stick with his veterans and avoid blooding any new players. It could be a long and fruitless year for Gondo, although we're still hoping for big things from him.
The 16-year-old attacker is still working under his father Gheorghe Hagi's protective wing at second place FC Viitorul in Romania. He's started 11 of 14 games for Puștii lui Hagi (Hagi's kids, which is pretty literal in his case), and made a lone appearance from the bench. He's notched a goal and assist this season, mostly playing as a right winger but occasionally getting some time in his favored central role. His last game was a win against Beleck's CFR Cluj. While he's unlikely to join Fiorentina any time soon, the Romanian youth international is, if nothing else, gaining heaps of experience.
The 19-year-old center back started both of Perugia's Coppa Italia games, including a 3-0 reverse to AC Milan which knocked the Grifoni out of the cup. Mancini has made a solitary Serie B replacement, and has otherwise been on the bench for 19th placed Perugia; he may stay there if manager Pierpaoli Bisoli chooses more experienced options for a relegation battle.
The 22-year-old Brazilian attacker was a preseason star for Serie A new boys Carpi, but has rather come back to earth since the season kicked off. He's started all 8 Serie A games for the Biancorossi, netting twice, and bagged a brace against Livorno in the Coppa Italia. He wasn't at his best in the 3-0 loss to Atalanta this past weekend, but he's been lively and looks like an excellent addition to Fiorentina's attack for next season. Maybe it's not hype time, but it's close.
The 23-year-old Ghanaian midfield destroyer is with Mancini at Perugia, and is also struggling for time. After starting the club's first four games, he's been unceremoniously dropped, not even making it onto the bench. I haven't been able to figure out what exactly is going on, but it doesn't bode well for a player who seemed to have a bright future not too long ago.
The 20-year-old fullback is having a more successful season, on loan to Serie B's Brescia. After sitting out the opener, he's started and finished every game for the Rondinelle, including their most recent, a 3-3 thriller against Avellino. Right-footed but equally comfortable on the left, he's progressing well and could be the reason that Cristiano Piccini was sold to Real Betis. If he continues at this rate, he could feature under Sousa sooner rather than later.
The Polish attacker, still only 22, is trying to revive a once-promising career at Belgian side KV Mechelen, where he's mostly been used as a substitute. Unfortunately, they've lost five on the trot and sit second from the bottom, mirroring the situation in which Wolski found himself last year at Bari. Here's hoping he can turn it around and fulfill all that potential that had us all agog when he signed.
The 19-year-old left back is teamed up with Fazzi at Virtus Entella. While he's not exactly set the world alight, he's been a rotational option, starting two games thus far. He was back on the bench this weekend against Salernitana. A fringe player in the youth international setup, he's trending in the right direction, although he may not break through for a few more years.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper has been the unquestioned starter for Pisa all season, starting all 9 games and conceding 9 goals for the Torri. Of all the Fiorentina players loaned out, he may be the most successful thus far.
Another goalkeeper, the 19-year-old Bardini has spent the year as a backup at Prato. He's yet to see the pitch.
The 19-year-old central midfielder is spending the season with Pordenone in the Lega Pro. He's mostly been used a sub, getting 6 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Sudtirol on Sunday.
The appropriately-named center back is a hulking 19 years old and playing with Lecce. He started both of the Coppa Italia matches, but now that the Giallorossi are knocked out of the competition, he looks like playing a bit less. He's started 2 league matches and made a substitute appearance as well.
Also at Pordenone, the former youth international is a 20-year-old winger. After starting the season off with a thigh injury, he's recovered, but has yet to field.
The 20-year-old center back has taken his ravishing good looks to Arezzo for the year. After starting the opener for the Amaranto, he dropped to the bench until their most recent game against Prato, a 1-0 win in which the youngster spent 90 minutes at right back.
A 20-year-old attacker who can play on the wing or through the middle, the young Argentinean is also loaned out to Pisa. He's managed 1 start and 4 substitute appearance, opening his tally with the Torri this past Sunday with a cracker against Carrarese, which will hopefully catapult him back into the starting eleven.
The 20-year-old defensive midfielder is playing for Pistoiese this season. He's made 1 start and 3 appearances off the bench (piling up 3 yellow cards), getting 20 minutes in the 1-1 draw at Rimini.
That's pretty much it for our future stars. We'll be checking back in periodically, so keep an eye on this space.