With 3 matches left in this Serie A season, Viola fans are preparing their goodbyes for those club members expected to leave. Those range from tearful (Gonzalo Rodríguez) to joyful (Paulo Sousa) to apathetic (Sebastian de Maio). One of the likely exits we haven’t talked about as much of late, though, is Milan Badelj, in large part because Dejan Joksimovic, his loudmouthed agent, has grown very quiet in recent months.
But it seems likely that Badelj’s 17 minutes against Sassuolo may be his last in the Fiorentina shirt. He’s picked up a thigh injury and is expected to miss at least 2 weeks. While the short-term effect is fairly clear—Borja Valero will drop deeper, Riccardo Saponara may finally get to play, and we’ll see more of Sebastian Cristoforo—the long-term outcome is that Badelj and his camp may not want to risk further injury by rushing back, as that could jeopardize a summer move.
As Fiorentina are pretty clearly going to finish uncomfortably mid-table, it makes sense to let him sit it out. Maybe it will make his exit a bit less acrimonious, although I rather doubt that, especially if AC Milan are able to rustle up the cash to make a serious offer (Remember when they couldn’t even do that this summer? Fun times.), although Inter Milan, AS Roma, and Chelsea have all been rumored to be interested as well.
But just in case this is goodbye, Milan, I suppose we wish you the best. You’ve done a job holding the midfield together and wound up being a much better David Pizarro replacement than we ever expected. We’ll miss your quiet presence screening the defense and doing the little things right, but you’ll never be a club legend like Borja, or even a fan favorite like Pek. You’ll always be the guy who passed through Florence for a couple of years and did fine. I guess that’s enough.