Now that Vincezo Montella is settling in at Sampdoria, he's got a list of players that Massimo Ferrero should provide. Perhaps surprisingly, Nenad Tomovic is near the top of the list. The big Serbian is an important part of the squad as the only quality reserve central defender, so he'll probably go for a hefty price. As an aside, Vinny's also looking to bring David Pizarro back to Italy as well, although the Chilean's also been linked to Udinese.
Go ahead and keep Khouma Babacar in the "not leaving Florence" file. Despite the best efforts of the English media, both the player and his agent say that the Senegalese striker is thrilled to be in Florence and intends to stay indefinitely. So can you dummies stop pretending he'll move to Tottenham for, like, 4 million? Seriously. Stop it. We're not even wasting any more time with this hooey.
And, since we're talking about stuff that won't happen, Man U has some lovely fantasies: Louis van Gaal sent his head scout to the Basel match to watch Borja Valero (and Breel Embolo). Hahahahahahaha no.
The only striker who could move on isn't even playing with the team. Mario Gómez is finally having the season he was supposed to have in purple. Unfortunately, he's doing it with Beşiktaş in Turkey. Given that Marione just got recalled to the German national team, it seems unlikely that the Black Eagles would let him return, especially since his buyout clause is only 6 million euros, but club president Fikret Orman warns the press against jumping to conclusions, claiming that the club's primary objective this off-season is a new stadium, not new players. Could be an attempt to drive the striker's price up, but it certainly thickens the plot.
Ever heard of Gerónimo Rulli? He's Real Sociedad's number one and got called up to the Argentina senior side for a couple of March friendlies. He's on loan at Sociedad from Uruguayan second division side Deportivo Maldonado (what?), but the Spanish club could turn around and sell him on. At just 23, he's more of a Luigi Sepe replacement than a Ciprian Tatarusanu replacement, but he's on Daniele Pradè's radar. Yeah, I'm as confused as you.
The quest for a center back continues unabated. Lisandro López of Benfica remains the most discussed option, but a recent injury to Luisao complicates matters, as the Argentine is expected to replace the club captain in the starting lineup; earlier reports had said that the Benfica wanted 11 million for the defender, but would maybe accept 7 million or Mario Suárez in exchange.
The other name thrown around frequently is that of Marlon, a 20-year-old central defender who plays for Fluminense. His agent admits he's been in touch with Fiorentina. Along with López, he's supposedly the club's top January target, although Roma and Juventus are also sniffing around. The agent advises there haven't been any offers, but one may arrive soon if the vultures keep circling; somewhere around 7 million seems right for something of a David Luiz clone: pace, skill, and a flair for the dramatic and/or harebrained.
The top backup plan is supposedly Eder Balanta, an injury-plagued Colombian who plays for River Plate. While Nolan can surely provide more in depth analysis, the quick version is that a once-promising career has stalled due to knee injuries, so the 22-year-old could be available for a discount (think 7 million). He's also nicknamed "El Coyote," so he's awesome.
Another unexpected option is Schalke's Cameroonian international Joël Matip. The hulking center back can also play as a holding midfielder. With his contract up in June, he could end up being a bargain as well, and he already holds a German passport. Plus, he's athletic enough to do this.
Updating a previous item, Fiorentina have apparently dropped out of the race for Juventus youngster Daniele Rugani, with Samp in pole position for the defender's service. As the player is predicted to have a bright future, it'll just be a loan, but he could have been a nice addition. Whatever. Easy come, easy go.
The search for a right back is also in full throat. This time, Mário Rui of Empoli is the proposed target. The former Portuguese youth international is now 24 and just signed a new contract, but his recent derby performance and overall form have Fiorentina interested, although probably in the summer.
Gianluca di Marzio reports that Fiorentina actively looking for alternatives to Jakub Błaszczykowski. The Polish winger has spent too much time off the pitch with injuries, and too much time as a spectator while on it. The only alternatives in his wing back position are forwards Federico Bernardeschi and Ante Rebic, and the unproven Gilberto. A pacey, hardworking, and direct replacement could easily materialize, especially since Kuba's only with the club on loan.
One possible replacement is Gianluca Caprari. More of a winger than a wing back, the 22 year old Pescara player has the requisite speed, although his defensive capabilities are suspect. If nothing else, he occasionally does stuff like this (from last week).
With a potent group of goal scorers up top, you might think Fiorentina would focus on a thin defense. However, Pescara's Gianluca Lapadula has popped up as a January reinforcement. The well-traveled 25-year-old has already struck 8 goals in 12 Serie B matches and may be ready for a bigger club, although he'd probably find minutes hard to come by with la Viola. Still, it's not a bad excuse to post his highlights from last season's Serie B campaign, which are pretty cool. Maybe he's the Italian Jamie Vardy; who knows?