January’s been a pretty good month for Fiorentina fans. Wins over Juventus and at Chievo Verona are nice. Hanging onto Nikola Kalinic is nice. Signing uber-talented Marco Sportiello for about a third of what he’s probably worth is nice. Snapping up several exciting youth prospects for the Primavera is nice. We all know, though, that Fiorentina can’t have too many nice things, so now we’ve got some not nice news about Gonzalo Rodriguez.
While it was initially reported as just a strain, the official Viola website now says that there’s a bit of structural damage as well, and that the captain and tone-setting defender will miss a minimum of 10 weeks, leaving Paulo Sousa scrambling. While Davide Astori is a star, none of Nenad Tomovic, Carlos Salcedo, or Sebastien de Maio can come close to replacing Gonzalo’s grit, proactive positioning, or leadership.
As we’ve still got more than a week left in the transfer window, there are several possible outcomes. The first is that Pantaleo Corvino stands pat, hoping that no other injuries strike and relying on just 4 centerbacks (5 if you count Carlos Sanchez) to fill in a 3-man backline. If Salcedo gets a chance in the heart of the defense—which is certainly his natural role—Corvino could look to bring in a real rightback, although it’s hard to find one who wouldn’t be too expensive at this stage. The third option is another mediocre centerback for cover, with Tomovic and Salcedo deputizing on the right.
It’ll be a good preview of life post-Gonzalo; the Argentine’s contract talks remain immobile after he angrily rejected a very, er, club-friendly extension that would have slashed his pay considerably over the next 2 years. With Inter Milan planning to swoop at the end of the season when he’s available on a free transfer, this could be the beginning of the end of the Rodriguez era in Florence.