Well, with Pantaleo Corvino settling in as the new DS, the staffing issues are rather less pressing than they were last week. Of interest, though, is the rumor that the Della Valles have set a €38 million transfer budget for this season. If coupled with one or two canny sales, that could be enough to significantly improve the team, particularly if Corvino's penchant for buying cheap and talented youngsters is indulged.
Salvatore Sirigu has dealt a blow to the rumors linking him to Fiorentina. After stating that he was happy to leave PSG for a team that wasn't in the Champions League and maybe wouldn't pay him as much, he had Viola fans fawning over him. Of course, his agent just ruined it by mentioning that Napoli is the Italian international's destination of choice. While there are various other custodians linked to Florence (the Pierluigi Gollini whispers just won't stop), the newest--and maybe most likely--candidate is Allison. The AS Roma backup has said that he just wants to play, so a loan move is a distinct possibility, with Florence mooted as a likely landing spot.
Let's start off on a happy note: Davide Astori is now fully a Fiorentina player. What's more, the €5 million payment to Cagliari for his services was taken out of last winter's transfer kitty, rather than coming from this summer's. His agent added that the player's contract renewal (it's up this year) will just be a formality, and the Italian international should ink a deal that'll keep him in Florence until 2021. Sounds like he'll have some new backline colleagues very soon, too, as Facundo Roncaglia has left on a Bosman and Nenad Tomović is the subject of a €4 million bid from Torino. Fortunately, reinforcements are on the way.
Marc Bartra has handed in a transfer request at Barcelona, and the Catalan club has agreed to sell him, setting a price of €8 million. Fiorentina are expected to renew their previously-dampened interest, with Tottenham also sniffing around. Barca is expected to insert a buy-back clause into any sale, though, which could make the whole thing more trouble than it's worth. And speaking of more trouble than it's worth, the agent of Lisandro López claims that he's been in touch with the Fiorentina front office and with Paulo Sousa; in fact, it seems that Daniele Pradè left a deal very nearly complete on his way out the door. Emmanuel Mammana, meanwhile, is in touch with Inter Milan now, so good luck with that. Finally, Mexican international Néstor Araujo, on loan at Santos Laguna from Cruz Azul, has popped up as a possible depth signing, as he's basically Facundo-lite.
The fullback situation looks stickier right now. Empoli leftback Mário Rui remains linked to a move away, but has said Napoli is his choice. Fiorentina remain a candidate for his services, but it's a bit of a shock to hear that from a player considered signed and sealed. His replacement at Empoli is former Fiorentina stalwart Manuel Pasqual, who signed for the Tuscan club (full report here) after a surprisingly brisk market. And, keeping with the theme of former Viola fullbacks, Corvino could activate Cristiano Piccini's release clause, which would bring the promising but injury-prone defender back home from Real Betis.
Ugh. Maurizio Sarri's obsession with Matías Vecino seems set to continue indefinitely. Various Neapolitan outlets reported that the Partenopei were inches from sealing a deal for the midfielder, whom Sarri has coveted since their time together at Empoli. Most reports had the Uruguayan international moving for about €25 million, with Manolo Gabbiadini thought to be the key to completing the deal. However, it seems that those reports were, at best, premature, and everyone involved has pumped the brakes pretty hard. Napoli have set their sights back on Milan Badelj (who says he's happy to stay at Fiorentina, which makes his agent look crazy), but it seems that we'll be hearing about them trying to raid the Fiorentina midfield all summer.
With Torino interested in taking Matías Fernández on loan, the central midfield is likely to need reinforcements as well. Bologna midfielder Amadou Diawara, an 18-year-old Corvino protegee. He's a bit like a faster, Guinean version of Badelj with less passing range, and looks like he could develop into a star, although Juventus, Roma, Sevilla, and Valencia are all watching him as well.
Benfica's Serbian midfield destroyer Ljubomir Fejsa is another option in the deep midfield. Bruno Fernandes of Udinese is a more forward-thinking player, and has stated his intention to leave Friuli. Torino, Sampdoria, Sassuolo, and Porto are all monitoring him as well. Diego Laxalt, whom Bologna recently bought from Inter Milan, has also caught Sousa's eye, and it seems like the Rossoblu could try to turn a quick profit on him, especially since the player sounds game. Cagliari, though, are doing their best to ruin the Viola pursuit of three useful players: Napoli's Mirko Valdifiori, Roma's Valerio Verre, and Hellas Verona's Federico Viviani (who's also on the radar for Bologna and Empoli).
As far as more attack-minded midfielders go, there are plenty of whispers as well. We'll start off with Cristian Tello, who's been in limbo as Fiorentina and Barcelona try to figure out his price. Sounds like he may end up with another year on loan, rather than an outright sale, which is more than can be said for Dennis Praet. Fiorentina are making a final (and somewhat cursory) offer, but the player's agreed to terms with Sevilla, although Anderlecht haven't signed off on the move yet. The Viola have instead turned to Adem Ljajić, for whom Corvino is hammering out a loan-to-buy deal with Roma. It sounds like he's getting close to done, too.
Backup options include Bologna winger Emanuele Giaccherini, who claims to be happy in Bologna despite talks with both Fiorentina and Juventus. Given the sticky situation with Sunderland, he's probably not worth the effort it would take to hammer out his status. Cagliari are on the tail of Hellas Verona's Artur Ionita, leading Fiorentina to lose interest; instead, they've had scouts watching Celtic's Australian attacker Tom Rogic, who occasionally does stuff like this.
Crotone president Raffaele Vrenna has been salivating over Khouma Babacar for the past several months, but the player's agent has respectfully declined, citing the player's profile in the premier League. Indeed, Crystal Palace are though to have lodged a €10 million bid, although Fiorentina are holding out for €12 million. Josip Iličić, meanwhile, has been surprisingly withdrawn from the exit list at Sousa's express request, and is now working on a long-term extension.
First, let's handle the ones that are less likely. After a week of intense speculation, it seems that Palermo striker Franco Vázquez, who was assumed to be Florence-bound, will have to find another destination. Maurizio Zamparini originally set his price at €20 million, which seemed reasonable, but cranked it up to €30 million, spooking the Viola right off the case. Meanwhile, Lazio seem to have butted in front of Fiorentina in queue for Genoa hitman Leonardo Pavoletti, which is not the worst news ever. The bad news is that Napoli are also interested in Carpi's wonderfully named Kevin Lasagna.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives. River Plate's 20 year old Sebastián Driussi has pace to spare and an eye for the spectacular, but also shows the positioning and instincts to be a prolific scorer. River's rated him at about €10 million, but, since his contract's up next year, he could be had for a discount, although Roma are also interested.
Fiorentina are also tracking another pair of Argentinean strikers: São Paulo's 22 year old Jonathan Calleri (whose pace and finishing make him an intriguing prospect) and Anderlecht's Matías Suárez (whose injury history makes him a red flag.
Hold onto your butts, because here's where it gets crazy. Gabriel Barbosa, better known as Gabigol, is probably the most hyped Brazilian striker since Neymar. Currently plying his trade with Santos, he can play anywhere across the front line. His technique, pace, and smarts make him the complete package, the type that every club in Europe is following. Barcelona has been weighing up a bid, and is considering loaning him to Fiorentina for a year or two. But, and here's where it goes left, Fiorentina have reportedly put together a €30 million bid for the 19 year old, which would surely catapult the Viola into the world spotlight and bring them a really brilliant little player.