With all the malarkey about Paulo Sousa moving on at the end of the year, we've got the real scoop. Seems like the mister and the Della Valles have arrived at an agreement to keep around for at least another season. That hasn't stopped the press from spitting out a number of names to replace him. Rolando Maran of Chievo Verona was apparently a Sousa alternative this summer, and is first choice to succeed him, especially after DS Luca Nember opened the possibility of his leaving the Donkeys. We've also hear that Walter Mazzari is a fallback option as well.
Salvatore Sirigu, who's been strongly linked to Fiorentina for the past couple of months, is now also being tracked by Juventus, according to this report. While it'd be frustrating for the Bianconeri to snag him, it's almost worth it just to imagine how angry Neto would be.
From the "young and promising" category, there's Valencia's Rúben Vezo, a 21 year old from Portugal. He's mostly been stuck on the bench and could be available for just €2 million, which would be an absolute steal for a player who's shown a lot of potential. Closer to home, Viola management have purportedly made contact for Udinese's Danilo, who's probably best suited to a reserve role. Leonardo Capezzi's Crotone teammate Gianmarco Ferrari, a 24 year old Parma product, is another domestic option. Finally, Fluminense have okayed an exit for long-term target Marlon, their ultra-promising 20-year-old who's drawn David Luiz comparisons.
On the less happy side, Lorenzo Tonelli, who'd seemed Florence-bound for certain, has also caught the eye of Torino, which could ratchet his price up. Also, Barcelona's Marc Bartra has probably rocketed out of Fiorentina's price range, with Spurs, Manchester United, and Liverpool all sniffing around in the neighborhood of €11 million. Speaking of which, Emanuel Mammana (for whom Fiorentina are theoretically still competing), has been targeted by both Napoli and Inter Milan, although River is holding out for a rather absurd €12 million. And, while we're talking about absurd stuff, Stefan Savić, who's struggled for minutes with Atlético Madrid, has been linked to Juventus. Bleh.
For wide defenders, we've also got some news. Manuel Pasqual has, ominously, not received any word from the club about an extension, which is shame. Even if he's not much a player anymore, it'd be hard to see him wearing another kit, even if he's clearly not a Sousa favorite, especially since he putative replacement, Empoli leftback Mário Rui, is also a Torino target. However, Davide Santon (who's still somehow only 25 years old), could be angling for a move away from Inter, with Fiorentina listed as a preferred destination, along with Udinese, Genoa, Torino, and Watford; for €6 million, he'd be a wonderful solution.
From Spain, it seems that UD Las Palmas midfielder Roque Mesa has attracted Fiorentina's notice. The late bloomer would probably cost €6 million at most, and his agent has been very complimentary of Fiorentina in interviews while dodging rumors of a preposterous €30 million buy-out clause. Udinese's Bruno Fernandes is another option, although Porto are also hot on his trail. Also, Alberto Aquilani is looking for a new home; sounds like he'll leave Sporting and head to Panathinaikos for next season. And, filed under "high comedy," AS Roma have offered youngster Leandro Paredes in a straight swap for Borja Valero. Lolololololololololol.
Further forward, Federico Bernardeschi has confirmed his commitment to Fiorentina amidst another round of rumors linking him to a big-money departure. And, in a huge reversal, he could be joined next season by Dennis Praet, as Anderlecht seem happy to sell the youngster on next season, despite his agent's protestations. A more experienced option, though, would be Lazio winger Antonio Candreva, who's ready for new pastures. The Viola, along with AC Milan and Napoli, are his preferred destinations.
The big drama, though, is reserved for Cristian Tello. The Barcelona-owned speed demon has been solid in Florence, but nobody seems to know what comes next. The player himself wants to stay, but it seems Fiorentina aren't sure about paying €8 million for him. A year-long loan is a possible compromise, but we've also heard that Fiorentina are flatly refusing to pay for him, and that they're close to settling with the Blaugranes for a €6.5 million fee to make the move permanent. Basically, nobody knows what's up with him.
The press certainly thinks that Fiorentina will be in the market for strikers next year, as the reports about Khouma Babacar jumping to the Premier League are coming in thick and fast. Josip Iličić, meanwhile, has a €15 million fee attached to him now, and Nikola Kalinić is in Tottenham's sights. Their replacements have all been of the long-term project variety, as Crotone's Ante Budimir looks like a Kalinić clone and has been mooted as his countryman's replacement or backup, with Crotone president Raffaele Vrenna admitting he could lose his start striker.
The other name possible replacement is Sebastián Driussi, a versatile 19-year-old also watched by Juventus, Inter, and Borussia Dortmund. He's got a knack for getting in behind the defense, and also for scoring some really spectacular goals.