Gossip had been flying around for some time, but often contradictory and counterbalanced by the difficulty of the situation. Vincenzo Montella, who had another year on his contract with Fiorentina, was clearly squabbling with the ownership over ambitions and finances, and it wasn't the first time.
The situation appeared to be reaching a head last week, when Andrea Della Valle released a statement asking Montella to "stop stalling." Then, at approximately 8 p.m. in Florence, the Tuscan club posted a news brief that recalled that posted when Norberto Neto denied a new contract; this one, however, announced (in rather severe terms) the firing of Montella.
Here is the statement in full:
"Fiorentina has found their manager Vincenzo Montella's recent behavior as a desire to free himself from a contract legitimately signed two years ago because it contained a clause that the manager no longer finds to be in his interests, but which he agreed to at the time"
So, with great regret, we have to acknowledge the fact that the trust necessary for any kind of trust has been undermined, and we are therefore required - for the good of the club - to fire Vincenzo Montella.
This lamentable situation obviously creates organizational problems which we must urgently resolve.
We would have expected from the coach a more transparent attitude, more respectful and less ambiguous towards the shirt, the fans, and club that have given him much."
The first of those "organizational problems" will obviously be finding another manager capable of leading Fiorentina on 3 fronts, a path which appears murky after top target Paulo Sousa and Basel denied communicating with the Viola about the job. A reasonably large summer clear out of players was to be expected this summer as well, so hopefully the club will tailor the personnel decisions in concert in order to create the kind of organic which so impressed fans and the league in Montella's first season.
However, such a firing - the firing of a coach which they will now pay to not work for the club - over a contractual clause does not lead one to be very optimistic about the calmness, clarity, and general sporting intelligence of the Fiorentina ownership. For his part, Montella will definitely shoulder some of the blame for this situation, and has often been a manager unafraid to (sometimes arrogantly) voice opinions unpopular to the fans and the ownership.
Vincenzo Montella will leave Florence having guided the side to 3 consecutive 4th place finishes, a Coppa Italia Final, and an Europa League semifinal on a modest budget. He won an impressive 52.94% of his games over three seasons at Fiorentina, with a 81-32-40 record in all competitions. The biggest expenditures under Montella were for the full ownership of Juan Cuadrado (promptly sold in January) and Mario Gomez, who has been a marginally qualified failure.
It is unclear whether the aeroplanino is allowed to immediately begin working, but Roma may salivate at the idea of bringing one of their club managers back to the capital should Rudi Garcia be ushered out the door. The futures in Viola of players such as Mohammed Salah, Khouma Babacar, David Pizarro, Federico Bernardeschi, and Joaquin may also be affected by the firing of the Viola boss. Time will tell.