Make no mistakes - a fully fit, in form Giuseppe Rossi would completely change this team. Rossi, arguably the most talented Fiorentina striker overall, offers a complete game the alternatives do not. A true center forward, but one who plays with the ball at his feet, Rossi offers a more complete game than Nikola Kalinic or Khouma Babacar, while offering more finishing skill and efficiency than first choice second striker Josip Ilicic. Rossi can play across the forward line and could potentially both substitute and compliment any of the other forward options.
The problem is, when Rossi plays, he looks like a guy who is just coming back from losing two years of the prime of his career, which is the unfortunate reality when it comes to the legend of New Jersey's finest son not named Bruce Springsteen. He has had moments of brilliance - he looked great during the preseason and has occasionally embarrassed defenses since then, but while he has been able to hold up for entire games, even at his best this year he fades in and out, as he is struggling to keep up with the pace of the game both physically and mentally. The good news is he doesn't look physically broken down, which suggests he can return, if not to his best, at least back to being a very good forward, but to do so he needs more playing time.
The tension here is that Fiorentina is at least nominally in the scudetto race, and cannot afford to regularly play Rossi back into shape, especially after an early Coppa Italia exit. Rossi might be unique, but he is not better than Kalinic, Babacar, or Ilicic right now, or even the wealth of attacking midfielders who are able to play in a modified trequartista role. As a result, it is looking increasingly likely that Rossi will be leaving in January. While Paulo Sousa has been right so far in being cautious with Rossi, and has publicly given his support, it is increasingly obvious that Rossi will continue to be a second string player if he remains in Florence this season.
In a perfect world, Rossi would be loaned out and return in form to take Fiorentina to the next level. However, in this sport there is little place for sentimentality, especially for a club in the financial position of Fiorentina, who must be willing to sell anyone for the right price. Rossi isn't worth what he once was, but speculation is that multiple English clubs are interested, and the opportunity to get as much money as possible from free spending EPL clubs is not one that the club can pass up on.
With Rossi's agent saying he is "99 percent likely" to leave this winter, and interest coming from both English and Italian clubs (most notably, Vincenzo Montella's Sampdoria), odds are right now is that Rossi will be loaned out, and any deal is likely to include an option to purchase him fully. In these circumstances, the club must look to maximize any potential profit now so that we can immediately start looking for a replacement. It is sad to view Rossi, a player many of us have a strong attachment with and one of the few world class Italian players on Fiorentina, as nothing but another asset to make money off of, but we still do not know how much he has left in the tank; Rossi has been plagued by injuries for his entire career, and while it has not been enough to take away from his moments of brilliance, we cannot assume the worst is behind him.
Finding a replacement striker in the winter window is never ideal, but while this may hurt Fiorentina, they are not alone in their desperation, which means now might be the ideal time to put Rossi on the market. Fiorentina needs to balance the needs of this season with the future - and looking to sell Rossi might be part of this balance.