Jose Maria Basanta
The Argentine centerback was an excellent squad player under Vincenzo Montella. While athletically limited, his intelligent reading of the game, hard tackling, aerial prowess, comfort in playing both three- and four-man defenses, and goal-scoring knack made him a very useful defender. Surprisingly squeezed out by Paulo Sousa, the Argentine international has returned to former club Monterrey on a year-long loan; the Mexican club is expected to finalize the sale at the end of the season for around 1.5 million euros. Surrounded by some big name South Americans in Walter Gargano, Rogelio Funes Mori, and Dorlan Pabón, Basanta seems to be settling right back in, starting the past two games for los Rayados. We're sorry to see the last of a good and solid player, but wish him the best.
Steve Leo Beleck
The Cameroonian youth international has already appeared for nine (!) clubs in his career. The former Udinese striker is now toiling at CFR Cluj in Romania, and, after a brief period to settle in, seems to be doing just fine. Already the first choice striker, the 22-year-old has scored once and tallied two assists (here's one)in six league starts for the mid-table Romanian club, which indicates that he's coming alone nicely. Here's hoping that he can fulfill his potential and finally stick in Florence.
The Australian began developing a cult following when he arrived from the Newcastle Jets in 2014. The novelty of an antipodean, his strong statements about Fiorentina, and that beard promised swell stuff. Unfortunately, Brillante looked completely overmatched in the 2014 season opener against Roma (Montella may have thrown him to the wolves to prompt the Della Valles to invest in the midfield), and was eventually shipped out to Empoli on loan, where he was unable to crack the lineup. Loaned out to Como this time around, things are going better for him. He missed the club's first match due to international duty, but has started the following two, although he's been substituted in each. Still just 22, there's hope that the midfielder/rightback could end up being a solid squad player.
The playmaking central midfielder, a fixture in Fiorentina's successful Primavera teams of the past few years, has joined Crotone for the year. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 20-year-old Italian youth international is settling right in, featuring in all three of the Pitagoricis' games and starting the last two. Encouragingly, he's featured more in the defensive midfield, proving that maybe there was something to the whispers that he could be Fiorentina's next David Pizarro. Of course, his ownership situation is a bit complicated: loaned to Crotone with an option to buy, Fiorentina can buy him back again should the Squali (seriously, Crotone has the best nicknames) make the move permanent.
Another Primavera standout, the 20-year-old Fazzi is a hardworking wide midfielder. Originally mooted for a spot on the Viola bench after an up-and-down preseason, the club instead sent him to Virtus Entella. He's started all three games so far for the Diavoli Neri on his preferred right wing, and is getting the minutes he needs to make the jump to the Fiorentina first team in the next year or two.
Not exactly a youth prospect, club-record signing Mario Gómez is now Beşiktaş. While his fall from grace is well-documented, Marione seems to be turning a new page in Turkey. After featuring from the bench in the first two Süper Lig matches, he made a start in the third and played a full ninety in the fourth and returned to his predatory best, scoring a brace. Now fighting for his international career, everyone hopes that the big German can rediscover the old magic, even if the club doesn't stand to make much back from his sale if Beşiktaş opt to make the move permanent at the end of the year.
Son of the legendary Gheorge, Ianis is already making his mark. Just 16 years old and the subject of a million euro transfer fee, he's back in Romania with Viitorul Constanța, which his father manages. While it might be easy to call nepotism on a teenager starting regularly, his versatility--most comfortable as a central attacker, but able to move to either wing--makes him a very useful piece. With a goal and an assist through nine appearances for the fourth-placed club, he's really showing some quality thus far. Now it's just a matter of hoping he can fulfill his father's hype and not burn out like so many wunderkind do.
A very familiar face, Ryder is not a stereotypical languid, elegant Brazilian player. While he's skillful enough, his work rate, directness, and off-the-ball running really set him apart. Used as a functional squad piece two years ago by Montella, the attacker wasn't able to break into the squad last year and spent a season rather lost at sea. Now loaned to Carpi and settling in as a right winger and second striker, the 22 year old is relishing his status as an unquestioned starter and danger man for the Biancorossi. Although he only has one Serie A goal in four appearances, he scored a brace against Livorno in the Coppa Italia last month as well, and has generally looked lively. Comfortable on either wing, his pace and attitude are maybe what's missing from Fiorentina this year, and will almost certainly be a fixture in the side next year.
Another former Primavera star, the Ghanaian has quietly become a solid prospect. Having spent time on loan with Catania and (with Khouma Babacar) at Modena, the U-20 international midfielder is now at Perugia. A powerful defensive midfielder with a surprising bit of skill at his disposal, Salifu has started every game (three in Serie A and two in the Coppa Italia) for the Grifoni, tallying an assist in the loss to AC Milan in the Coppa. While he looks stout for Perugia, at 23, his time may be running out for Fiorentina, especially as he's behind Milan Badelj and Mario Suarez. In what may be a make-or-break year, some good performances could earn him a spot with la Viola, and a bad one could result in a sale and a productive Serie B career.
Oh, Wolski. We had such high hopes for you. Breaking into the Legia Warsaw first team at just 17, the rail-thin little attacking midfielder joined Fiorentina in 2013. A loan to Bari last season didn't bring him the minutes he needed, and his move to Mechelen seemed doomed as well. Wolski, though, is slowly turning his career around. He's managed five appearances for the Belgian club, including starts in three of the past four. Maybe, just maybe, Rafał is beginning to wake up at the club level (he's already a full international), ready to become the Borja Valero replacement some fans thought he could be.
Others in Serie B
Playmaker Lorenzo Venuti made his second start with Brescia, but played badly and may have lost his spot in the starting eleven. Left winger Filippo Bandinelli has yet to get off the bench for Latina. Center back Gianluca Mancini seems to be preferred for the Coppa Italia rather than Serie B for Perugia, starting both games in the former and just once in the latter. Left back Luca Zanon has yet to appear for Virtus Entella. Striker Cedric Gondo has made one substitute appearance for Ternana.
Others in Lega Pro
For Pordenone, winger Axel Gulin has been an unused substitute since missing some time with a muscle strain, while versatile midfielder Marco Berardi started the first match , playing just a single minute since. Dreamboat center back Saverio Madrigali started the first match for Arezzo, but has since dropped to the bench. Goalkeeper Lorenzo Bardini is stuck on Prato's bench. Goalkeeper Alessandro Bacci has nailed down the starting spot at Genarro Gatusso's Pisa and kept two clean sheets out of four, while his teammate Diego Peralta has been used as a utility attacker and started three of four appearances, while staying on the bench for the other. Defensive midfielder Jacopo Petriccione has two substitute appearances for Pistoiese. Center back Nicolo Gigli has made three starts altogether for Lecce, but dropped to the bench in their most recent match.