At a certain point, you have to start feeling bad for Fiorentina. Sometimes they dump someone because they don't trust them. Most of the time they get left by people they thought they had a long-term thing going with -- hi there, Riccardo Montolivo -- and then what does poor Fiorentina do? They swoon over the speediest new kid in town. You just know it's going to end in heartbreak, but you just don't dare tell them. The Viola looked so happy. They deserved to be happy, right?
I wish I could say I have never been in this predicament, or only been in it once, when I was young and innocent. But I'd be lying. Like, more so than usual. In fact, I have currently had standing "Let's split a bottle of wine and enjoy the nice weather" plans with a cute friend of a friend since... April. Seriously. Her mom's in town this week so she couldn't go out with me on Wednesday, but she'll text me Sunday. Probably. Just like me, Fiorentina believed that Salah would stay, even when the stalling was getting a bit egregious.
So I sympathize with Fiorentina. They are, as an organization, a lot more earnest and gullible than most clubs out there. That's part of their charm, and part of the reason it is so difficult for this team to win anything. You need to have a cynical side to succeed in this weird pseudo-entertainment business, as well as a lot of confidence and a strong sense of self-worth. You can't wait weeks waiting for them to call you back. They are never going to call you back.
I understand that the Viola organization really wanted Mohammed Salah back, and were willing to put up with a certain amount of nonsense for the hope of him returning to Florence for another season. But it's jarring how paranoid Fiorentina were about Vincenzo Montella's vacation time when he was still under contract, and how ludicrously accepting they were of Salah's complete refusal to communicate when his contract was expiring, even after a ridiculously good contract offer. Where are they going?
Under the Della Valle ownership, Fiorentina has talked a lot of big game and made some controversial decisions citing a lack of "love / respect / loyalty to the city / jersey / fans." But then they keep getting caught in these situations where they futilely chase a player who clearly has no desire to stay -- in this case, Salah didn't even have the courtesy to tell us that he wanted to leave and openly turn down the offer.
I don't think you can have it both ways. Either you try to build the best group of individuals you can, however you can get them in town -- that sounds expensive and dirty -- or you get a core group of people with clear limitations but lots of heart, hunger, and a connection with the fans. It's hard to have both, and you are far more likely to attract more talent with a cohesive group.
Of course in contemporary sport, sometimes you have to convince people stay. It's natural that we want Fiorentina to be the best team they can be, but if Salah wants to leave you have to be able to toss your hair, say "not worth it," and get right back on OKCupid so you can find someone just as beautifully speedy who will actually answer your text messages. Yes, even if you think you'll never find someone that special again because no one is as amazing as your ex and how could you do this to me Lauren you ...
Please don't drag this into court, Fiorentina. Get to the retreat at Moena, let diminutive Primavera tricky-wingers-in-training Simone Minelli and Nicolo Fazzi train with Joaquin -- what a time to say God Save Joaquin -- hold up Khouma Babacar as a model of loyalty and of the Fiorentina to come, pay Federico Bernardeschi, and see if you can't find a speed demon or two this transfer window who is actually quite happy to get paid to play football in Florence.
Salah, meanwhile, is very sure that he's explained everything very clearly to the Viola, and they totally understand.
Have fun at Chelsea Momo, learning to be a better mascot with the wildly-successful-since-leaving Juan Cuadrado.