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Transfer Tuesday: Wet concrete

Nothing's set in stone, but the Viola braintrust is laying the forms.

Dennis Praet tells Fiorentina to come and get him.
Dennis Praet tells Fiorentina to come and get him.
Kaz Photography/Getty Images


Following interest from Zenit St. Petersburg and others, Andrea Della Valle confirmed on Sunday that Paulo Sousa is staying with Fiorentina for at least another season. If he does leave, it sounds like the first man up Sassuolo's Eusebio Di Francesco, which would be a very sound move. Daniele Pradè, on the other hand, certainly looks set for the exit door (along with a number of back room staff), and Bologna seems the most likely destination, given DS Claudio Fenucci's open admiration.


According to French rag L'Equipe, Salvatore Sirigu's agent has confirmed that the custodian will make his triumphant return to Italy to join Fiorentina after 4 successful years in Paris. His contract runs until 2018, but PSG seems to be willing to let him go for cheap, with Alphonse Areola waiting in the wings. His salary with the Parisians is €3 million, so expect some hemming and hawing about that, as well.


This is going to be a frustrating paragraph. Sebastian de Maio's representative recently claimed that his client didn't make the long-anticipated move to Fiorentina this winter due to budget issues, which is vague enough to be very scary. Speaking of agents discussing failures, Yohan Benalouane's agent says that the defender was completely healthy when he arrived in Florence, a statement remarkable for its chutzpah more than its veracity. That situation remains unresolved, and probably will for a while. And continuing the theme of bad transfer business, Pradè claims that the Viola are still working on a move for Emanuel Mammana, despite well-documented interest from Napoli and AC Milan. More realistic is the news that Viola scouts are watching Paraguyan centerback Gustavo Gómez of Lanús. Just 21 years of age, he's already made headlines for kicking Carlos Tevez in a match (still not sure if that's a good or bad thing), but he does look like a solid young player with room to grow.


There's a bit more optimism here. We'll start with the current Fiorentina players. Sounds like Tino Costa will, unsurprisingly, be sent back to Spartak Moscow at the start of the summer. The same source claims that Panagiotis Kone may get to stick around and try to prove his worth, which is surprising, given how anonymous he's been thus far.

The reinforcements are a bit more exciting. Vincenzo Guerini has personally scouted both Franck Kessié and Valerio Verre, who are young and promising, but very different types of players. Luca Cigarini's agent, meanwhile, has stated what we all already knew, that Atalanta blocked the midfielder's winter move to Florence. He did say that a move could still be on the cards, though. Amidst interest from Inter Milan and Juventus, though, Grêmio's midfield destroyer Walace categorically denied any previous links with Fiorentina, which seems a bit suspicious.

Moving up the pitch a bit, here is your typical Federico Bernardeschi and big money club rumor. This time, it's Manchester United, and the only interesting wrinkle is that the Red Devils are dangling teenage messiah Marcus Rashford as bait, which is sort of hilarious. Berna would do well to observe the saga of Juan Cuadrado, who's now out of Juve's plans moving forward and rather stuck in limbo. While Atlético Madrid are interested, I'm sure someone can think of a better, purpler destination for the Colombian winger.

Finally, here's the big news, because we're all about burying the lede here at Viola Nation. Anderlecht's Dennis Praet is very possibly moving to Fiorentina. We heard rumblings this past winter, but everything's really picked up in the last week. The Viola brass are in talks with their Belgian counterparts, who've set an eminently reasonable fee of €8 million for the 21 year old attacking midfielder. The matter progressed throughout the week, with the caveat that Fiorentina will probably have to sell some players to make room. The youngster himself is ready for a move as well; once hailed as Belgium's next wunderkind, his development has slowed in the Jupiler League, and he clearly needs to prove himself at a higher level. His signing with Fiorentina would be a major coup if it happened, given that he's had interest from all the big name clubs. He's a whip-thin, quick player with a lockerful of tricks to get by a defender, a lethal shot from distance, a wonderful appreciation of space (he likes drifting out to the wings to overload the defense a la Mesut Özil), and the eye for the killer pass.


The man most pundits expect to be shipped out to make room for the Belgian playmaker is Josip Iličić. Leicester City had scouts watching his performance against Empoli (poor choice), and now Dortmund are rumored to be interested as well. The other big attacking name mooted as a possible Lurch replacement is Brazilian Gabriel Barbosa, better known as Gabigol. We've heard a lot of rumors about Fiorentina's interest, up to the point of sending players to Santos to talk with his club, but it's official now, because Pradè has outright admitted his employer's interest. Knowing the Viola DS, this could just be a wheel within another wheel (and so on to recursion), but it's encouraging to hear the club's ambition in signing young stars.