The Fiorentina board is meeting today, and among the many things on the agenda are confirming new DS Carlos Freitas and new head of northern European scouting Martin Jørgensen, who's already digging up Scandinavian prospects. The new sponsor is also occupying a good deal of time; Mazda had offered a deal, but Andrea della Valle turned it down. While we don't know who the shirt sponsor will be, word is that it'll be from the worlds of finance or technology and should be worth around €3 million.
The Viola have agreed to terms for Jagiellonia Białystok's 18-year-old starting goalkeeper Bartłomiej Drągowski, according to various media outfits in Italy and Poland. The specifics haven't been released yet, but it's a bit of a coup, as the youngster is frequently considered the most promising Polish talent around, and could wind up being a real superstar. The brass at Białystok think he's ready for Serie A, but it's a big step up (right, Rafał Wolski?) and he may need a year or two before he's ready. This does muddy the waters with all the other goalkeepers linked to Fiorentina.
Facundo Roncaglia isn't sure about his future yet. He hasn't ruled out signing an extension with the Viola, but it sounds like he's likely to opt for a new adventure. His agent says he'll stay in Europe or move to China (which will disappoint Boca Juniors fans who were hoping for a Ronc return), and word is that Marcelo Bielsa wants him at Lazio, which news should terrify all Viola attackers.
Possible arrivals include Udinese veteran Danilo, for whom Fiorentina are preparing a €3 million bid. He'd be a depth player, not a starter, and this could all be a Corvino smokescreen; he's also supposedly watching Simone Scuffet, Sylvan Widmer, and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu. The other options getting heavy press in the past few days are Chancel Mbmemba, although Newcastle have supposedly turned down an initial offer for him; Andrea Ranocchia, who's returning from Sampdoria to Inter Milan (where he spent a year as captain) and doesn't seem to have a place in the team anymore; and Crotone's Gian Marco Ferrari, even if a move would be very complicated, especially if it involved Leonardo Capezzi going the other way on loan.
Hellas Verona flameout Gilberto is in line for another loan move, this time to Serie B. Perugia have a number of club executives (including Gianluca Comotto) in town and meeting with Corvino to set up a deal that could very well be for the promising Brazilian fullback. Fellow loanee fullback Lorenzo Venuti has loan offers from Latina and Vicenza, while Virtus Entella misfit Luca Zanon will return to Florence, although another loan move is pretty much assured. On the arrivals side, a move for Genoa leftback Cristian Ansaldi is gaining traction in the media these past few days, but there's still nothing concrete. Copenhagen leftback Ludwig Augustinsson is another, Jørgensen-approved target who looks like a good, steady player. Ditto for Olympiakos rightback Omar Elabdellaoui, who's got 22 Norway caps at age 24.
We've all heard about Milan Badelj and his ding-dong of an agent, who's now talking up Tottenham as a destination for his client, so we'll just set that aside for now. Leonardo Capezzi, meanwhile, may end up back at Crotone for one more year, contradicting earlier reports that he was set to stick with his parent team. His teammate Nicolò Fazzi, who barely appeared last year at either of his stops, is being courted by Crotone, Perugia, and Avellino, with the former in pole position to get him on loan.
Fiorentina are eyeing up Feyenoord midfielder Tonny Vilhena, who seems ripe for a move away after some issues with the club; Corvino is supposedly working out the details. Novara have rejected Fiorentina's bid for Paolo Faragò, leading Bologna to try and outbid the Viola to pip them to a solid, rather than spectacular player, although Faragò himself would rather try his luck in Florence. Palermo engine Oscar Hiljemark has been tapped for an exit from the Sicilian club, and his destination has been listed as Fiorentina or Napoli, although neither club has registered any known interest yet. Fellow Swede Oscar Lewicki, Malmö's 23 year old midfield destroyer, has popped up on the Viola radar, courtesy of Jorgy. Finally, Mirko Valdifiori has said he wants to go somewhere where he'll start, since he wants to make one last push for an international role, and may get his wish if Napoli uses him as a makeweight for Franco Vázquez.
Barcelona is inching closer to allowing Cristian Tello to return to Florence for a year, and may be willing to lower his redemption fee to €6.5 million from €8 million, as the Gigliati have been requesting for months. Young Diego Peralta, who impressed last year with Pisa in their promotion campaign, looks set to spend another year under Gennaro Gatusso's wing; his agent is meeting with representatives of both clubs to make it so. Axel Gulin, who had a less productive year with Catania, may well stick there as well, as the Etnei seem to expect their star players to be raided and want replacements lined up early. In what's growing into a really weird story, Viitorul Constanța have denied earlier reports that Ianis Hagi will travel to Moena this summer, insisting that nothing of the sort will happen. It may be the end of the line for Hagi Junior as a Fiorentina prospect. Finally, former Corvino signing Maxwell Acosty, fresh off a brilliant season for Latina, will not have his contract renewed, making him a free agent. Given his pace, intelligence, and youth (he's only 24), he's sure to land somewhere soon, with Genoa and Crotone both interested.
We've reported on Fiorentina's Emanuele Giaccherini interest previously, but Corriere Fiorentino believe he's one of Corvino's top targets, especially now that Sunderland have set his fee at just €1.5 million. The other major target on the wing, San Lorenzo's 21 year old speed demon Héctor Villalba, continues to intrigue. Rumor is that Fiorentina have submitted a €3.5 million bid for him, which the Argentine club have rejected; this back and forth is part of the process, although lowballing tends to backfire for this club.
The other wingers we've heard about recently include PAOK's Slovenian international Róbert Mak, whose agent admits that he's in touch with several Italian clubs. There's been little news on the Adem Ljajić front, but AS Roma are trying to use him as bait to sign Torino wide-man Bruno Peres.
There are some new names in the rags as well this week. Perugia attacker Jean Armel Drolé has attracted quite a bit of attention around Europe, as Fiorentina jostle with Udinese, Palermo, Toulouse, Wolfsburg, and Red Bull Salzburg for the 18 year old Ivorian winger. Legia Warsaw's 21 year old attacker Ondrej Duda may not have as high a ceiling, but he's versatile, hardworking and possesses a brilliant nickname (Ondrej di Maria), so there's that. Pione Sisto of Midtjylland is a 21 year old Danish U21 international, born to South Sudanese parents in Uganda. He's small, but fast, quick, dangerous with the ball at his feet, and tireless running up and down the wing.
Well, it's another Transfer Tuesday, so the media is still insisting that Khouma Babacar is on his way to England; apparently, it's just a matter of which team decides to come pluck him away from Florence. Of course, those same outlets say the same of Josip Iličić, who's by no means certain to be heading for the exit, so enjoy your salt with it. Heck, they even say that Mauro Zárate is attracting interest from the Premier League, which is purely absurd. In a rather abrupt about-face from the spring, Nikola Kalinić now says he's planning to stay at Florence. Maybe it's tied to Paulo Sousa agreeing to stay, but whatever the reason, the Croatian international will hope to show that his early-season form was the real him. This might shut the door on Jonathan Calleri, who's done a one eighty and now says he wants to stay at São Paulo, not even a week after talking up his plans to head for Italy.
Of course, those are just the players who were on the roster last season. For the former loanees, things remain murky. Mario Gómez, fresh from an absurdly productive season with Beşiktaş, has refused to commit himself to anything thus far. He'll wait until after the Euros, although the Viola are certainly hoping he has a strong tournament to crank his value up. Wolfsburg have reportedly already offered €5 million for him, but with PSG also sniffing around, it'd be wise to let a bidding war develop. The Beşiktaş brass, meanwhile, have grown tired of his waffling and seem ready to move on, with Mario Balotelli the leader to replace Marione. Oh, and AC Milan are pretending they have even a remote chance at bringing him aboard, which, no.
Giuseppe Rossi, on the other hand, has possibly an even more confusing future ahead of him. Bologna are openly ogling him, but can't pay more than €3 million, and his €1.7 million salary would also be problematic. A loan deal is possible, with an option to buy inserted, but Sousa is open to bringing him back, pending his performance at Moena. Whether or not he wants back is another question, as his agent Federico Pastorello has expressed doubts about whether he'd fit into Sousa's preferred 4-3-3 prior to what was by all accounts a very cordial meeting with Corvino. It's thought that the crow has set a price tag of €4 million for him, which means someone could get an absolute steal; Villarreal have been nosing around as well.