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Transfer Tuesday: Midfield madness

You know the drill by now. This week, the focus is on the spine of the team, with centerbacks and midfielders galore.

Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images


Sounds like Daniele Pradè's day of reckoning is coming up. The Fiorentina AD has a performance review with the board next week. They'd do well to think hard, though, since his presumed replacement, Pantaleo Corvino, seems to be contractually tied tighter to Bologna than was previously thought. With the transfer window not that far away, dallying is a really bad idea. On the coaching side of things, it sure looks like Rolando Maran has one foot out the door at Chievo Verona, since the club is looking for a replacement. Maran's at the top of the list to replace Paulo Sousa, if it comes that, although both the Portuguese mister and the Viola brass insist he'll stick around for another year.


The uncertain quest for a new custodian continues, as Salvatore Sirigu continues to be linked with Fiorentina. The backup role, though, may already be filled for next season, though, as Sousa has recently expressed how pleased he is with Luca Lezzerini's development, to the point of possibly handing the youngster a start against Lazio this week. Whether he stays on as the Viola number 2 next season or goes out on loan to get some experience, he's certainly a player to watch for the future.


Since it's the biggest thing in the world right now, let's start out with Leicester City's trophy presentation. How does this relate to Fiorentina, you may well ask. Well, Yohan Benalouane was in attendance, which will only further cement the idea that he never took his move away from the Foxes seriously. Facundo Roncaglia is also itching for a move away; he nearly left last summer and only stuck around because the club couldn't find a replacement, so he's probably a goner as well. On the plus side, Davide Astori's agent has expressed his client's desire to stay in Florence on a permanent basis.

This means, of course, that Fiorentina will certainly be players in the centerback market, and there's no lack of names associated with them. Long-term target Lorenzo Tonelli of Empoli, while proclaiming his love for the club, has opened the door to an exit, and the Azzuri brass have echoed that latter sentiment. Fiorentina have also resumed their flirtation with Benfica centerback Lisandro López, which surely won't end in infuriating fashion again. Domestic options also include Armando Izzo and Luca Antei, of Genoa and Sassuolo, respectively, and the tantalizing prospect of Valencia's Rúben Vezo keeps floating around as well.

Florence is also a likely destination for fullbacks, as Manuel Pasqual is officially moving on. Here is our full report/wailing and gnashing of teeth. Empoli's Mário Rui has viewed as a possible replacement for some time, and the player himself and his agent have both been effusive in praise of Fiorentina and Sousa. Another option is Cristiano Piccini, who's endured a rough season at Real Betis, rupturing his knee ligaments. The former Primavera star certainly sounded eager for a return home in this recent interview.


Milan Badelj and his doofus agent could be on the way out. Here is our full report. We've recently had reports that Shanghai Shenhua's Fredy Guarín is eager for a Serie A return, and has targeted Fiorentina as a potential landing spot. Another couple of possible alternatives are Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu of Udinese and Simone Missiroli of Sassuolo. Empoli's Ricardo Saponara remains a possibility as well. If, as seems possible, Sousa wants to build a younger and more Italian team, AS Roma-owned Pescara star Valerio Verre is a possibility, although he'd rather return to the Lupi; Napoli misfit Mirko Valdifiori has also been offered, mostly as a makeweight for Matías Vecino. Las Palmas midfielder Roque Mesa, meanwhile, has thrown cold water on the rumors of his impending move to Florence. Finally, Feyenoord's Tonny Vilhena has been linked to Fiorentina and Inter Milan, although he seems closer to the Nerazzuri than the Viola.

As far as more attack-minded midfielders go, it seems like the Denis Praet saga is going to march on, now with the news that a deal early in the window is likely. If it falls through (which never happens with Fiorentina), Roma-owned Crotone winger Federico Ricci is a promising young fallback plan, although Inter are also sniffing around.


Speaking of rumors which just won't die, the Khouma Babacar exit story has a new twist, this time with Vincenzo Montella's Sampdoria named as the destination. The player many expect to replace him (or Nikola Kalinić, depending on which rumor you're listening to) is Crotone's Croatian beanpole Ante Budimir, although the Rossoblu president Raffaele Vrenna has expressed his desire to hang onto the striker, who scored 16 goals in 36 Serie B appearances. Further complicating matters is that Budimir is owned by St. Pauli in Germany, although it sounds like the Squali are going to redeem his loan option.