Continuing on Fiorentina's theme for the summer, another defender has left Fiorentina's ranks. This time, it's 23 year old center-back Michele Camporese, who signs for Empoli for an undisclosed fee.
The Pisa-born defender was a fixture in Fiorentina's youth academies, debuting with the first team in 2010 under Cesare Prandelli. He made his first Serie A appearance against Milan, replacing an injured Cesare Natali against a Zlatan Ibrahimovic-led Milan, keeping the Swede in his pocket for the entirety of the game. He scored his first and only Fiorentina goal against Palermo later that year. He looked every bit the sort of player who could command a back line for fifteen years, and Viola fans were filled with optimism.
Sadly, that was the zenith of Camporese's career. After signing a five year deal with the club in 2011, injuries hampered his upwards trajectory. A series of knee injuries kept him off the field when he desperately needed to be on it, and he was eventually lost in the chaos following Prandelli's departure.
A loan to Cesena came in 2013, but young Michele showed few signs of recovering his previous form. He tried to move forward again at Bari last season, and, while he showed signs of progress, he has never looked like recapturing his earlier promise.
Perhaps a move to Empoli is just what he needs, though, to develop farther. Already capped at every youth level for Italy, the Pisa-born defender has to get on the field every week. Hopefully he does, and hopefully this sale, like those of Cristiano Piccini and Luca Bittante, includes a sensible buy-back clause.
Even if it doesn't, and even if Camporese never reaches the heights we thought he might, we'll always have that November evening and the warm feeling that "Hey, maybe this guy is going to be a star" that he gave us for forty-five minutes against Milan.