Deep within his well-lit and no doubt tastefully decorated office, Daniele Prade lurks, wheels grinding in his mind as he holds a Moriartian grasp on the transfer world. Having already out-generaled Napoli for David Astori, he strokes the silky white cat in his lap and turns his mind to his real plans for the summer. The intrepid team of reporters here at Viola Nation spare no expense or danger to lay bare Prade's machinations for you.
Fiorentina are reported to be in talks for Espanyol's Mexican international centerback Hector Moreno. With the player purchased, Prade sells promising but injury prone centerback Ahmed Hegazy to Bologna for a tidy 800,000 euros. Next, Prade receives the first of several hundred LinkedIn messages he'll get over the next few days from Jose Mourinho, asking about who that hardman Serbian defender who can play centerback or rightback is. Next, with the press talking up a potential Adam Ljajic return, the club's representatives meet with the little Serb, drawing things out considerably. Meanwhile, Fiorentina and Liverpool reach a swap agreement for Josip Ilicic and Fabio Borini, with the latter tapped to join Fiorentina along with five million euros.
The same day, Leonardo Capezzi is loaned to Pescara for a year in return for assistance from gli delfini in securing the services of a friendly narwhal. Back in Liverpool, just as Borini is about to board the flight to Florence, Mario Balotelli saunters up to Brendan Rodgers and shaves a dragonfruit into the back of the coach's head. Finally fed up with and nearly broken by Mario's antics, Rodgers calls Prade and begs to send Balotelli and Borini as a package deal. Prade hems and haws, but eventually agrees.
Meanwhile, the search for a rightback continues in Germany. Leverkusen's Giulio Donati, who was previously tapped for a move to Florence that the club later rubbished, receives a text message at 3 in the morning, advising him to be waiting outside in seven minutes for an unmarked car that will take him to Florence. Upon his arrival, he is greeted by Prade, who informs him that the club's previous show of interest and disinterest was a smoke screen. With Donati in the fold, Prade finally answers Jose Mourinho's persistent LinkedIn messages (Seriously, Jose, LinkedIn?), confirming that yes, Nenad Tomovic is a lot like Branislav Ivanovic, you have a special eye for talent, Jose.
Double meanwhile, Balotelli is immediately sold to Sampdoria, where he will learn about fish, for 18 million euros. Borini, meanwhile, practices once for Fiorentina before Prade sells him back to childhood club Bologna; "It's a dream come true," purrs Borini, who is pleased but puzzled that Fiorentina sold him for 5 million euros and what looks suspiciously like a saddle and reins for a narwhal.
As the Ljajic negotiations seem to stall, Prade instead turns his attention to Juan Iturbe, whom the press report was his real target all along. Roma, desperate for funds to bring in Edin Dzeko, agree to sell for just under 20 million euros. The club also quietly brings Alberto Gilardino back on a modest contract. Next, Prade expresses interest in Juve's wantaway striker Fernando Llorente. The club's next move, though, is to make an offer for Udinese's promising young goalkeeper Simone Scuffet, eventually settling on a 3 million euro deal and Iakovenko going the other way and Scuffet spending one more year with gli zebretti as well.
Meanwhile, Ilicic frustrates Brendan Rodgers so much with his combination of poutiness and bad haircuts that Rodgers terminates his contract. Ilicic re-signs for free with Fiorentina just before Adem Ljajic, concealed in a vat of Nutella, appears in Florence and begs for a chance to return, citing the lack of Playstations in Rome. Prade relents, agreeing to buy Ljajic for 12 million euros on the conditions that Iturbe return to Roma (with Fiorentina keeping 1 million euros for their trouble), and that Roma take back the Nutella. Jose Mourinho messages Prade back: "I'll take the new Ivanovic for 17 million." Prade chuckles quietly to himself and begins typing his reply.
The next piece of business is the sale of Facundo Roncaglia to Marseille for 6 million euros. The French club are frustrated to have overpaid, but pleased to get a player Prade assured them CSKA were interested in. Meanwhile, the media reports that Fiorentina is no longer interested in Llorente, and are now engaged in their annual pursuit of Rolano Bianchi. Prade then texts Barbara Berlusconi with pictures he recently purchased from an independent photographer that show her father and new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic in the midst of a particularly foul bunga bunga party. To forget all about it, he requires Milan to buy Josip Ilicic for 14 million euros. To avoid derailing all the momentum Milan has built up with some expensive summer buys, she's forced to acquiesce.
Oleksandr Yakovenko, meanwhile, is sold to Heerenveen in return for some Dutch dyke-building expertise. The media will report that Fiorentina are interested in Manchester United rightback Rafael. Ricardo Bagadur leaves for a year-long loan at Carpi. Prade flies to Barcelona for a sensational swoop for Pedro. Silvio Berlusconi becomes convinced that Josip Ilicic is a spy and is tracking his movements (the Slovenian is really just wandering around looking for a terrible barber), and insists that Milan release him. Ilicic, clueless as ever, staggers back to Florence, where he at least knows where to find the worst hairdressers; he re-signs for Florence again.
Prade messages Mourinho from Spain, mentioning that, with Tomovic and Ivanovic, that other guy is expendable, and besides, don't Chelsea maybe owe Fiorentina a favor after the recent unpleasantness? Mourinho agrees, and the next day, Cesar Azpilicueta is introduced as a Fiorentina player, arriving for a 19 million euro fee. Out of nowhere, Prade announces that he's bringing in Wolfsburg's Ricardo Rodriguez in exchange for 15 million euros and Marcos Alonso.
Meanwhile, Prade departs Barca without Pedro, but with the slightest of smiles, because he has convinced Leo Messi to force his way out of Barcelona in favor of Fiorentina. The news breaks a day later, and Messi is slated to ride into Florence on a unicorn. The deal falls through, however, when the Argentinean wizard discovers he won't have an equine unicorn, but rather a unicorn of the sea, better known as the narwhal. Messi rejects Fiorentina and returns to Barcelona in a huff.
Clearly, Prade has no idea what he's doing and we should all panic.