It's another week of slowly building tension, rather than any blockbuster names and rumors popping up. That doesn't mean there aren't some very interesting things floating around. The biggest one, perhaps, is the incessant murmur that Daniele Pradè is inching closer to a move to Udinese, which would, of course, open up a spot at Fiorentina for Pantaleo Corvino. The big man's been coy with both his current club Bologna and reporters, but we're monitoring the situation pretty closely. Of course, swapping out directors means that these rumors are worth even less than usual, since a new DS could opt to take the club a completely different direction, but they're still a lot of fun.
Napoli is without a doubt the Viola's main nemesis in terms of transfers, considering that they always seem to be sniffing around the same players. This time, it's Empoli's Portuguese leftback Mário Rui, whom Fiorentina have been linked to for the past couple of seasons. His agent has spoken about the Partenopei interest in his client, but admits there's been no contact yet.
Meanwhile, Luca Bittante, the other leftback at Empoli, recently sat down for a pre-derby interview and discussed his expectation that Fiorentina will exercise their buy-back clause in his contract. And while we're on the topic of loaned out fullbacks, it sounds like Gilberto may stick at Hellas Verona for another season to develop, with the possibility of midfielder Federico Viviani moving the other way.
It seems Fiorentina wants to get younger in the midfield, as evidenced by their interest in a couple of teenage prospects. The first is 18 year old Ivorian Franck Yannick Kessié, who's currently on loan at Cesena from Atalanta. A big, powerful player who can drop into the central defense in a pinch, he's also being tracked by AS Roma, Inter Milan, and a number of English clubs. As you can see from his highlights, he's a real all-rounder and would fit right into Paulo Sousa's plans.
The other is 19 year old Moroccan Youssef Aït Bennasser, who's currently at Nancy. More of an attacker than Kessié, he's a bit of a Matías Vecino clone, albeit without the Uruguayan's defensive instincts.
And speaking of Vecino, Napoli (of course) remain as covetous as ever; every week, we get another report of a €15-20 million bid for him, so here's your regular reminder, I guess. We'll close down the midfield section with the news that David Pizarro is on the move: Andrea Stramaccioni's Panathinaikos are interested in the former Viola regista, who's currently unattached. We wish Pek nothing but happiness and long, diagonal passes in Greece, or wherever he chooses to go.
Jakub Błaszczykowski's agent has come out and said what we all knew: Kuba's not going to stay in Florence. Citing the lack of playing time, agent Wolfgang Voege confirmed that the Polish international will return to Borussia Dortmund. All credit to the player and his representative, though, neither has said anything against the club, other than expressing their disappointment in the lack of minutes.
The club's already got a potential replacement lined up, though. Ezequiel Cerutti is a 24 year old Argentinean who's at San Lorenzo. According to his agent, Fiorentina had scouts at his recent match (although there's not yet been any contact between the parties), in which he scored in a 2-2 draw with Belgrano. Capable of playing up top, off a main striker, or out wide, he's a smart player with good technique and an eye for the spectacular, but his real asset is pure searing pace.
He could also be a replacement for Josip Iličić, as Watford DS Nicola Salerno continues his public praise of the Slovenian.