Before we start, sorry for the radio silence these past few days. We've had to resolve some technical difficulties here at Viola Nation HQ, by which I mean a carpeted van I bought from Dimitar Berbatov's cousin Timitar for a fraction of it's market price and that has no real issues other than a pervasive smell of mayonnaise.
One of the most interesting storylines out of Moena so far has been the fate of Luca Lezzerini. Expected to strike out on his own in Serie B, he's training with the rest of the squad and has been a model citizen, going so far as to compliment his rival and apparent replacement as "goalkeeper of the future" Bartłomiej Drągowski. Young Luca says they're actually getting along quite well, which may mean he's not as set for the exit as we'd thought.
Lots of goings on here over the past week. First, Facundo Roncaglia has officially signed with Celta Vigo on a Bosman, so congrats to him and apologies to ankles and knees all over Spain. Torino continue to circle for Nenad Tomović, although it sounds like they've added Lorenzo de Silvestri to their wishlist as an alternative. Saverio Madrigali has joined Vicenza in Serie B on loan for the year; after he lit up the Lega Pro, this is a good step for him. Nicolò Gigli, another promising youngster, looks set for a loan move of his own to Salernitana.
The list of possible arrivals is much longer. The big one is Crotone man Gianmarco Ferrari. Fiorentina have already had a €4 million rejected, with the Sqali setting a price up to €6 million. The player seems willing and has reportedly agreed to terms, but the club is determined to hang onto him as the Viola prepare another offer. Lokomotiv Moscow have rebuffed an offer for Croatia captain Vedran Ćorluka already, according to multiple sources, but the player's agent Bosko Zupanovic denies that there's been any contact; with a salary in excess of €2 million, he was always a long shot to wear the purple shirt. even though Palermo have been relegated, they're trying to avoid selling Edoardo Goldaniga, who claims that he wants to stay in Sicily despite offers from Fiorentina and Sassuolo. Valencia's Portuguese misfit Rúben Vezo and Coritiba's 21 year old José Carlos Ferreira Júnior, better known as Juninho (no, not that one, or that other one, or even that other one), have also popped up as persons of interest. But the biggest news is that Fiorentina are close to closing a €6 million deal for Feyenoord's 21 year old Sven van Beek. Various sources have reported it in the past couple of days, including Alfredo Pedulla, so this one could be for real, and could be a fine piece of business.
The Fiorentina fullback situation remains miles from resolution, although there's been some action at the bottom of the roster. Josh Brillante's Italian adventure is over, as he's been sold back to Sydney FC. Lorenzo Venuti, freshly loaned to Benevento in Serie B, has spoken with the press about his happiness with his new team and the faith the parent club are showing by renewing his contract for another three years. The Viola have nixed Gilberto's move back to Corinthians, putting Bari on alert. Finally, Mantova and Pistoiese want to bring Luca Zanon to Serie C on loan. Genoa are pondering a move for former Fiorentina and current Empoli leftback Luca Bittante. Oh, and all the Mauricio Isla rumors? Nah. With Juventus asking for €7 million and the player on a €2 million salary, Red Bull Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen are welcome to him.
Well, we're back to the Milan Badelj exit rumors. This time, longtime admirers AS Roma are joined by AC Milan and Everton. Yawn. For more concrete news, we turn to youngster Jacopo Petriccione, whom Pistoiese boss Cristiano Lucarelli compared to David Pizarro. The new Pek is on his way to Serie B with Ternana, which will probably prove a make-or-break season for him. Marco Berardi is also likely to take a step up, with AC Prato ready to give him a shot in the Lega Pro after he shone in Serie D last year. And former Corvino wunderkind Amidu Salifu has renewed for another couple of years, and will head to Serie B for another year to prove that he belongs with Fiorentina. Vicenza, Benevento, and Salernitana all all interested.
The list of reinforcements is not particularly inspiring. Paulo Sousa asked for Ljubomir Fjesa, but Valencia have placed a €15 million bid with Benfica for his services, which is probably too much for Fiorentina to overcome. Sevilla's Uruguayan battler Sebastián Cristóforo is a possible replacement, and Daniele Baselli is back as a possible target. Amadou Diawara is absent from the Bologna preseason setup, and nobody seems to know exactly where he is, which is weird and could maybe mean that he's angling for a move away, but could also mean all sorts of other stuff. The rest of the news is quite bleh. Sampdoria are in for Federico Viviani, Valerio Verre is going to stay at Pescara, and there's been no contact for Empoli's Riccardo Saponara.
In the more attacking midfield spaces, there's quite a bit of turmoil. Fiorentina and Barcelona still haven't reached an agreement for winger Cristian Tello, even though the player wants to return to Florence so badly that he's turned down a big money offer from Swansea, as well as interest from Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool. His agent's been spotted in London, and now we're hearing that he could stick with the Blaugranas, but there's still hope that he'll sneak back in.
According to Sportmediaset.it (which is not particularly reliable), Inter Milan have lodged a €25 million offer for Federico Bernardeschi, whom the Viola value at at least €30 million. A couple of wingers have officially been sold, though: Filippo Bandinelli will join Latina, although he did have some nice things to say about his time in Florence; and Pisa will redeem their long-standing interest in Diego Peralta, whom they are not selling to Juventus. On the other hand, youngster Ianis Hagi has officially joined the Viola for around €1 million and signed a 3 year deal, although his father will get a portion of the profits on all future sales. Luciano Moggi has emerged from his shadowy crevice to croak that Hagi Junior is the best piece of business in Serie A thus far, which, uh, cool. Finally, Vicenza reps have met with Corvino about a loan for Simone Minelli, who played 33 minutes in the U19 Azzuri win over Germany.
The Emanuele Giaccherini saga is finally over, and it's finished with the player signing a 3 year contract at Napoli. Torino are said to be hopping mad about losing out on him, but I'm still not convinced Fiorentina's interest was anything but smoke and mirrors. Torino have begun a second approach for Adem Ljajić, but Fiorentina and AC Milan are biding their time. Word is that the Viola will have to sell someone to raise the funds to buy him, though. The rest of the news is pretty uninspiring. Ondrej Duda's agent claims there's been no contact with Fiorentina, although Pescara are rumored to have made an offer for him. Genoa have approached Milan with an offer for Suso. And finally, San Lorenzo's young speedster Héctor Villalba, who was thought to be close to a move to Florence last month, is instead joining Atlanta FC in the MLS.
Sounds like Khouma Babacar is really, truly on the outs. He's training separately from the team right now, and his agent Patrick Bastianelli is in England to drum up interest. He's West Ham's fallback option if they can't land Carlos Bacca, but a host of other teams (Middlesborough, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, et cetera) are also interested. In a surprising reversal, though, Giuseppe Rossi is now almost certain to stick around this season. Corvino told the Gazzetta dello Sport that the striker isn't going anywhere, and Sousa seems willing to tweak his plans to fit Pepito in (4-3-1-2, anyone?). Moreover, word from Moena is that Rossi looks fit, hungry, and ready to resume his rightful place as one of the most lethal marksmen in Serie A. The Mario Gómez tale has taken a turn for the absurd, as Turkish media reported that Fiorentina had agreed to sell him to Beşiktaş for €4 million earlier this week. Marione, though, apparently turned down the offer, and now wants to play in Spain. It's great to see him back in form and all, but he's really making himself a pain to deal with now.
There's already a lengthy list of possible replacements for the outgoing strikers. Hull City's Uruguayan international Abel Hernández comes with searing pace and plenty of Serie A experience. Although Tigers boss Steve Bruce says he's not for sale, some strategic reinvestment of the Babacar funds could change his mind. Frenchman Sebastien Haller just tore up the (notoriously striker friendly) Ereedivisie, but his agent says Fiorentina haven't been in touch with him. Might not be a bad idea, though.
17 year old Josip Maganjić has a contract running out next year and has been touted as the next Nikola Kalinić, putting Fiorentina on high alert, along with Palermo, Udinese, Anderlecht, and Lille. And finally, sounds like Fiorentina have officially bowed out of the races for both Gabriel "Gabigol" Barbosa and Marko Pjaca, as the prices are simply too high for a club that isn't comically rich.