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The Viola Nation summer CALCIOMERCATO REVIEW

In which we discuss mainly fullbacks. And other things too

Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

It's the moment you have all been eagerly awaiting: The VN team's verdict on the summer transfer window

What was the best move of the transfer window?

Tito: Best move of the transfer window was getting rid of Aquilani's and Gomez's contracts. The team now has a little bit of space to sign some marquee players (or maybe some #$%#*ing fullbacks) now, which is going to be a really good thing.

Huw: Błaszczykowski. Simply because it gives us a chance to remember that noted British television fool Adrian Chiles once said, "As a child, Jakub Blaszczykowski watched his father murder his mother. But he's bounced back!"

Nolan: Kalinic so far looks like a bargain. We still don't yet know just how good he is, but true #9's tend to be overvalued, and he has that skillset we have been trying to find on and off for years.

Chloe: For me, it was bringing in Jakub Błaszczykowski on the last day of the window, really because I think it gave the club a lift to bring in an established European talent in a position where we were so desperately lacking.

Do you have an underrated or overrated transfer?

Tito: I guess for the club, most overrated move is Salah leaving. He's a pretty one-dimensional player, and giving Serie A tacticians an entire summer to figure out how to stop him means he'll either have to grow as a footballer or resign himself to a squad role and nothing more. Most underrated move, for me, is hanging onto Matias Vecino, who is likely to get some minutes this season; Matigol hasn't been the most durable player around and is going to be exhausted from his summer heroics. Vecino is probably his most natural replacement, especially after Suarez's struggles against Torino.

Huw: Nikola Kalinic will be overrated, in that I don't think he's very good, but underrated in that he'll probably play quite a lot and be an important part of the team.

Nolan: Jakub Błaszczykowski could actually be both - Kuba was an ideal solution to the Joaquin fiasco, but he's also still more famous for the player he was on a great Dortmund side that itself has become an overrated legend by now. I also think Jaime Baez could be an under the radar game changer down the line, but it is far too soon to tell

Chloe: I'm not sure that anyone has been particularly overrated or underrated - my hope is that the Błaszczykowski transfer will live up to expectation and that he stays injury free.

If you could have had any other Serie A team's transfer window instead of our own, which club's would you choose and why?

Tito: I think Inter, Roma, and Genoa had the overall best transfer windows in terms of improving the quality of their teams, but I think Genoa did the best job in finding players on a budget. The lost Juraj Kucka, true, but added some very good to above average defenders in Ezequiel Munoz, Christian Ansaldi, and Diogo Figueiras. They also got Blerim Dzemaili, Diego Capel, and Samir Ukjani, who aren't stars, but could easily become regular starters. The only blemish is that they also added Goran Pandev, who is one of my least favorite Serie A players in recent memory. Honorable mention to Inter, who added a lot of quality but probably spent way too much money (if that even matters anymore).

Huw: I'd like to get up close and personal with Milan's mercato so I could die laughing. It's fine to say that after the opening game, right? Truthfully, Roma have done some really good business (he said through gritted teeth.)

Nolan: Inter, because they basically are a Fiorentina reunion show at this point. And hey, Felipe Melo once was very good for us!

Chloe: Definitely Inter.  JoJo is already working out for them, but mainly because they have brought in a right back AND a left back in Martin Montoya and Alex Telles - something that we are crying out for.

What was the worst move?

Tito: not bringing in any effing fullbacks besides Gilberto was a comical oversight for which someone ought to be set in stocks in the Piazza della Repubblica and pelted with tomatoes. Ugh. Honestly, that might be the most glaring mistake in the league. I'm trying really hard to pretend it'll work out, but I'm so anxious about this that I'm running out of fingernails to chew.

Huw: Joaquin. Good night, sweet prince.

Nolan: Bringing in no fullbacks besides a raw Brazilian wingback, and letting Basanta go with no cover. Basanta was hardly some world beater, but is Astori supposed to replace both him and Savic when we were thin in the back to begin with? And our right back depth remains a disaster.

Chloe: Definitely not bringing in more cover in defence. We have only three realistic options at centreback in Davide Astori, Gonzalo Rodriuez and Facundo Roncaglia which doesn't give much room for injuries/suspensions. Marcos Alonso and Gilberto are a the moment too defensively lightweight when asked to play in right & left back areas. Pasqual hasn't featured so far, so we don't know how much he is going to feature under Sousa. We will see what happens, but I feel that we crossing our fingers and hoping for the best with the defensive squad that we have.

What move do you wish we had made?

Tito: Adding Lucas Digne and Martin Montoya would have been swell, thanks. Bringing back exes Stevan Jovetic, Juan Cuadrado, and/or Adem Ljajic would also have been cool. And guys, Massimo Gobbi was available for free. Why not?

Huw: Wish we'd signed Cassano. It would all have ended in so, so many tears but the heart wants what the heart wants.

Nolan: We needed a dynamic, two-way fullback. Even another utility player like Zuniga, or a good but not great prospect like Martin Montoya. On either side really, Alonso and Pasqual can do the job but both are flawed, and on the right, well, there's a reason for that 3 man backline Sousa is falling in love with.

Chloe: I wish that we had brought in Juan Iturbe from AS Roma. I have seen him play in a live game and I think he could bring some real excitement to the Franchi. Roma have decided to keep him for now, but having been close to selling once you never know might happen in January or beyond.

Now that the window is closed, do you think we have an adequate squad for the season ahead?

Tito: I think the squad is adequate for a Europa League finish, which is a realistic goal in my mind. Losing the most promising young manager in Italy and a club record signing, along with several key members of the squad, means that a step back is pretty much inevitable, even without other clubs throwing around cash like they're bunga bunga-ing. That said, I think Prade did a pretty good job of reinforcing the squad with what he had, although a fullback or two would have been nice. Did I mention that I really wanted Fiorentina to sign some fullbacks?

Huw: Considering how apocalyptic and awful everything seemed at one point, everything seems quite OK now. There's been eminently sensible buys and the club's found good value for a couple of players. Even against Torino, the bench was decent (unlike the performance.) The squad is alright, but Sousa is still learning what he's got at his disposal.

Nolan: Adequate? Yes. We aren't worse than we are last year, certainly different, but players like Suarez and Kalincic cover some holes, while we have mostly avoided creating bigger ones. But there's a lot of questions still, over whether the back line can hold up on two fronts, and if some of the new guys can replace the likes of Joaquin, Savic, and Pizarro, who will be missed, even with damage mitigation.

Chloe: I think we will be fine with the squad that we have for now, but we must strengthen in January. We were about to spend €18 million on Salah so I would hope that at least some of that money will be made available to Sousa. If we don't strengthen and have a Europa League and Coppa Italia run like last season, we will be in trouble come March/April time without a few more key additions, especially in defence.

Overall mercato vote:

Tito: Given the chaos this window began with (Montella, Salah, Gomez), I think the front office rallied and deserves a solid 6.5. There's room for improvement, certainly, but it's important to remember that this is Fiorentina, not Real Madrid. When a new coach arrives, he doesn't get to hand a 150 million euro wish list to the management and have it met within two months. The club has done a good job of transitioning to a new style to match the new manager, especially with limited resources and a number of stars who just up and walked away from the team. It would have been nice to keep old warhorse David Pizarro and Juan Vargas around, but Sousa probably doesn't care much about nostalgia. Even without the rumors bouncing around about reinforcements for the winter window, I think this summer was as successful as it reasonably could have been. That's not to say that it wasn't excruciatingly frustrating, and that I'm thrilled with the overall results, but I also think it could have been so so so much worse.

Huw: This summer has run the full emotional gauntlet. The highest highs (beating Barca and Chelsea in a week) and the lowest lows (realising I'm going to have to write Błaszczykowski again and again.) We've laughed, we've cried. We've signed Davide Astori. But we nearly signed Vlad Chiriches. Not as bad as it seemed at times, but the huge spending of the other clubs makes it seem a little bit worse in comparison. 5.5.

Nolan:6. I think we did a good job in a difficult situation. The ownership wanted to cut costs, the coach most players seemed to love left, our two best wingers stabbed us in the back, and it was time to cut our losses with what might have been the highest profile flop since the Cecchi Gori era in Mario Gomez. Yet despite some issues I still had, the team didn't dissolve, we managed to keep the midfield a position of strength with a few shrewd moves, and there was zero signings I disliked.

Chloe: 5.5. I had hoped to make some more signings than we did and I thought that some of the players that were released (David Pizarro and Juan Vargas in particular) could have provided us with some invaluable cover. Still, I suppose we have a clean slate for a new manager but everything will hinge on whether he is able to make significant additions to the squad in January. As it stands, we only just have enough players to field a decent team and if we suffer from significant injury problems we could really be in trouble.