Now that Rui Costa has decided to stay at Benfica, Pantaleo Corvino is still trying to round out his technical staff. The emotional favorite for the job is former Fiorentina favorite Martin Jørgensen, who's currently working with AGF Aarhus in Denmark. Jorgy's even joked about being available, but it'd be a big step up for a guy who doesn't have that much experience. The more probable candidate is Carlos Freitas, the Portuguese talent evaluator who discovered Cristiano Ronaldo. He's mostly worked in Portugal (he originally signed Matías Fernández at Benfica), which is consistent with the Lusitanian direction Fiorentina has taken of late, and is well regarded within the business. Expect to hear about this final directorship being filled in the next week or so.
We begin with an addendum to the comedy bit of Real Madrid considering a bid for Neto. Now Everton are interested in paying somewhere in the neighborhood of €10 million for the ex-Viola shot stopper. Sure. As far as relevant news goes, it's been all Pierluigi Gollini this week. The Hellas Verona custodian, who may or may not have a €10 million release clause in his contract, claims his agent is working on finding him a new home, but hasn't made any concrete progress yet, even though Fiorentina reportedly consider the 21-year-old their top goalkeeping target. It's easy to see why, given his cat-quick reflexes and young age, especially since there's room for growth.
In other goalkeeping news, it looks like Napoli and Juventus have bowed out of the Salvatore Sirigu sweepstakes, leaving Inter Milan in the lead and Fiorentina as a distant second. Atalanta's Marco Sportiello meanwhile, won't be going anywhere until la Dea have a new manager.
It's pretty slim pickings on the centerback front. Torino is still circling for Nenad Tomović, whom they've identified as their top target; if the rumors are true, they're lining up a €4 million bid. Marc Bartra has officially signed with Borussia Dortmund for €8 million. The Lisandro López rumors, meanwhile, remain as persistent and unspecific as ever.
Fullback is a slightly more fruitful position, even as the hope of Empoli's leftback Mário Rui arriving soon nosedives. AS Roma threw themselves into negotiations with the Tuscan club earlier this week, and we're now hearing that there's a preliminary agreement in place for him. Former Primavera star Cristiano Piccini, though, remains a top target, even though Betis wants to keep him. Fiorentina can buy him back for €2.5 million this summer or €3 million next summer. The player's agent claims he wants to stay in Spain, but bringing an academy product back would help the Viola meet FIGC homegrown player requirement.
The top replacement seems to be Torino's marauding rightback Davide Zappacosta. Fiorentina are interested and are supposedly lining up a €6 million offer. Former U21 leftback Adam Masina, currently with Bologna, is another option; originally a striker, he's thrived since his move to the defense. Carpi leftback Gaetano Letizia is a cheaper option who brings pace, but not much else. Finally, we've got a bit more on the Viola interest in Crotone man Gian Marco Ferrari here.
Torino were plotting a €5 million swoop for Matías Fernández, but the midfielder's leg injury may keep him in Florence at least until the winter window. Matías Vecino, meanwhile, continues as the object of Napoli's unwanted affections. The Partenopei have offered €16 million for him, and will max their offer out at €18 million, if the Gazzetta dello Sport is to be believed. Roma have also popped up as suitors in the past week, but it may all be moot, as Vecino has repeatedly said that he wants to stay in Florence and honor his recently-signed extension. Oh, and Perugia is trying to bring Primavera star Enrico Chiesa in on loan for next season.
Sounds like Napoli are all in for Bologna's teenage sensation Amadou Diawara, offering Manolo Gabbiadini in exchange; the Rossoblu, though, have set a firm price of €15 million and won't be swayed, as evidenced by their rejection of Valencia's €10 million bid last week. Corvino, given his knowledge of the Bologna squad, could still sneak in and pip Napoli to a player he's already signed once. Even so, it sounds like Genoa's Uruguayan dynamo Diego Laxalt. The Grifoni just bought him from Inter for €2 million and have set a price of €5 million for his services, which is a reasonable amount for a hard-working, albeit technically limited, young player who has room to grow.
The usual suspects round out the transfer rumor page in the middle. Hellas Verona's Federico Viviani remains a person of interest, and we've covered Fiorentina's interest in Luca Cigarini (again) here in greater detail. Benfica's Serbian hardman Ljubomir Fejsa is back in the dispatches, mostly due to all traffic between the Viola and the Encarnados over Rui Costa's home next year. Genoa's Tomás Rincón, who's currently captaining Venezuela at the Copa América Centenario, has popped up for the first time this summer, too.
The saga of Cristian Tello may finally be drawing to a close, as Pantaleo Corvino is hopping on a plane to Barcelona tomorrow to finally figure out what's going to happen with the winger (and maybe also to interview Carlos Freitas). The player and his agent seem frustrated that it's taken this long to figure out his future, but another year on loan with a €7 million fee to buy him outright seems to most likely outcome.
Filip Đuričić just spent a reasonably productive year at Anderlecht on loan from Benfica. He can play out wide or as a number ten, and at 24, he should just be coming into his prime. Of course, his teammate André Carrillo is an even more enticing option who's been linked previously to Fiorentina and is showing up on the club's radar again. Pacey, powerful, tricky, and technical, he's the complete package and would provide another Peruvian wing threat, now that Juan Vargas is contemplating an Italian comeback with, er, Pescara. Gastón Ramírez is another South American attacker who's currently looking for a club. Somehow only 24 years old, he'd probably be available for a reasonable salary, although he may not be talking business with anyone until after the Copa América.
Well, it sounds like the Dennis Praet dream is well and truly dead, as Sevilla have agreed to terms and are supposedly going to announce their capture of him some time this week. Fortunately, Adem Ljajić remains right in Corvino's sights; things have actually gone rather quiet of late on that front, which could indicate that the Fat Ninja is hard at work. Hopefully he's working not as hard on bringing in Emanuele Giaccherini. The diminutive Bologna winger is a useful player, but his €2 million salary is simply too much. It sounds like the Fiorentina interest in him is something his agent has drummed up, as Torino have offered him a 2 year deal, and Sampdoria are also kicking the tires on him.
Liverpool have made another €10 million push for Josip Iličić, which Fiorentina have, as per usual, shot down; the scuttlebutt is that it'll take €15 million to pry the Slovenian away, especially as Paulo Sousa has specifically requested the club to keep him around. The whispers about Nikola Kalinić planning an exit are picking back up too, although they've seemed pretty baseless thus far. More (or less, depending on how you feel about the player) encouraging is the news that Mauro Zárate is planning to sign a 2 year extension at Fiorentina, then return to Vélez Sarsfield before he retires.
The hottest name at the moment belongs to Jonathan Calleri. The Argentinean São Paulo (although he's still owned by Deportivo Maldonado) striker's contract runs out next year, so the club will probably try to cash in on him now rather than let him leave for free. Everyone, from the player himself to his veteran teammate Diego Lugano, says he wants to try himself in Europe, and he's a month away from gaining Italian dual citizenship. Corvino has been in touch with the clubs involved; the going figure is a €700,000 loan fee for 2 years, then €15 million to buy the player outright. For a guy who does stuff like this (oh my goodness that rabona goal at the beginning), it may well be worth it; he looks like a Chicharito clone: nothing but goals, but oh so many of those.
Calleri's hardly the only striker that Fiorentina is monitoring, though. Franco Vázquez of Palermo is leaving Sicily this summer and Fiorentina looks a reasonable destination, as we reported here. We may have spoken too soon, though, as Maurizio Zamparini has recently stated that he thinks his star is moving to the Premier League, as Tottenham's interest intensifies. Staying on the subject of Palermo attackers, Hull City's Abel Hernández is thought to be angling for a move away, with Fiorentina one of his suitors. And, last but not least, Carpi is determined to hang onto Kevin Lasagna, even as various Serie A clubs circle and La Nazione writes that he'd fit Sousa's tactics to a tee.