Sergej Milinkovic-Savic nearly became a Fiorentina player this afternoon, only for the whole affair to explode at the last minute. It's still unclear what exactly transpired in the heart of the Viola headquarters, even after sporting director Daniele Prade left a very strongly worded statement to the press massed outside. Milinkovic-Savic and his father arrived in Florence in the morning, and he was expected to take a medical ahead of joining from Belgian side Genk.
Here's the sporting directors' commentary on the deal being terminated:
"We don't have to convince or implore anyone to come to Fiorentina, let alone a 20 year old kid, who should come here with a fire in his belly. We found an economic understanding with Genk, we found an economic understanding with the player, and now the player still wants to think, because he has some personal family issues and he wants to take more time. We can't take any more time"
"If the player has family issues or other teams after him, he should go off on his path. We today are tired after all this time, and it's right to take a decision... So for us, our roads diverge. This is over."
Prade went on to add that "a 20 year old doesn't change our team" and (slightly worryingly) that the "mercato is still very long, it ends the 31st of August, and yesterday we already saw a great team, a team with a strong identity." Prade also shot down the continued rumors that Fiorentina are interested in Bayer Leverkusen right back Giulio Donati.
The most recent rumor is that Milinkovic-Savic's significant other refused to allow the player a move to Florence, which (if true) says a great deal about the player's priorities, and also speaks volumes about said partner's taste, because Florence is freaking beautiful.
The Viola will likely revisit the hypothesis of bringing Walace in from Germio in order to continue to add muscles to the midfield after bringing in Mario Suarez from Atletico Madrid. But regardless of whether or not Prade and company have equally talented players lined up as second or third choices, this affair reflects rather poorly on Viola planning; it's not very classy to fly a player out to finalize a deal, only to then publicly terminate negotiations (even if the player is being infuriating). We may have dodged a bullet with Milinkovic-Savic, but what's next for the Fiorentina summer transfer window?