With the new season just a week from starting, we’ve taken a look at the changes to Fiorentina’s squad and to the league as a whole, since last season.
The big transfer news in Florence this summer has been the departure of Fioretina captain Giulia Orlandi. After over ten years in Florence, Orlandi has moved on loan to Serie A newcomers, and fellow, Tuscans Empoli. Orlandi featured in 15 of la Viola’s 22 league games last season, but with both Marta Carrisimi and Greta Adami clearly ahead of her in the pecking order, as well as the emergence of Valery Vigilucci, it appears she has been allowed to leave in search of first team football.
The only other notable departure over the Summer has been that of Deborah Salvatori Rinaldi, who has joined Deportivo in Spain on a permanent deal. Like Orlandi, Salvatori Rinaldi had previously played for Firenze, but had been reduced to a lesser role since joining Fiorentina in their inaugral season. She is however a very talented player, finishing last season with 14 goal in 18 games, and will be a huge boon for one of La Liga’s weaker teams.
La Viola’s two major investments over the Summer have been Swedish winger Antonia Goeransson, and Icelandic midfielder Sigrun Einarsdottir.
Goeransson is a veteran of the Swedish national team, and a former Frauen-Bundesliga winner. It’s likely she will replace 33-year-old Patrizia Caccamo as the first team’s starting left winger, but will have to perform at a consistently high level to keep the Italian international, who scored 14 goals and created many more last season, from reclaiming her first team berth.
Icelandic midfielder Sigrun Einarsdottir will face even stronger competition for her place in the starting XI, with ever-present Greta Adami, and Italy internationals Alice Parisi, Marta Carissimi, and Valery Vigilucci already vying for the three spots in the centre of the park. Einarsdottir, appears to have her work cut out for her, but the former-Stjarnan player brings Champion’s League experience to a team preparing for their first foray into Europe’s elite-most competition, and that alone may prove enough to see her displace one of last season’s regulars.
The window - as it oft does for Fiorentina - has also seen the acquisition of a set of youth prospects who will likely have to wait a few years before seeing any involvement with the first team. Former PSG midfielider Precillia Rinaldi and ex-Birmingham striker Alice Brazil will almost certainly spend the year playing for the primavera, though defender Oceane Daniel - also from PSG - may play a role at some stage in the campaign, given the relative lack of depth at her position.
Juventus - The newly formed affiliate of the team who’ve dominated male football on the peninsula for almost a decade have wasted no time in making clear their intention to do the same in the women’s game. The Piemonte outfit have acquired no less than 6 players from last year’s runners up Brescia, as well as a handful of other high-profile players from around Europe. Whilst their squad’s probably a level below that of Fiorentina right now, they’re still a formidable opponent and will challenge for a Champion’s League spot, even if the Scudetto is probably out of reach for now.
Brescia - Whilst they’ve lost a considerable number of key players from last year, Brescia have reinvested in quality players. Manuela Giugliano, Valentina Giacinti, and Cristiana Girelli are all capable of taking over a game on their day, and new signings Katarzyna Daleszczyk and Aleksandra Sikora bring Champion’s League quality to Lombardia. Like Juventus, they’re probably not going to mount a serious title challenge, but they have a talented squad, and will be hoping to capitalise should la Viola falter.
Ones to Watch
Tatiana Bonetti - Last season’s top scorer, Bonetti found the net a staggering 32 times in 27 games in all competitions. An agile and quick winger in the mold of Lorenzo Insigne, her ability to create chances from nothing will prove vital if la Viola are to make an impression in the Champion’s League.
Valery Vigilucci - I believe this year will see the breakout of Vigilucci. The 20-year old centre mid featured in 15 games in all competitions last season, earning herself a handful of Italy caps along the way. Calm and composed on the ball, and tireless in her work off of it, Vigilucci has one of the best skillsets of any play in the league despite her young age.
Elena Linari - The 23-year-old, Fiesole-born centre half was a huge factor in Fiorentina conceding just 7 goals last season, whilst her dominance in the air saw her net 6 times herself. Comfortably the best defender in Italy, seeing how Linari fairs against the best strikers Europe has to offer will be one of the season’s more interesting aspects.
Fiorentina go into the coming year with an even stronger squad than they did last year, however with the addition of Juventus to the league, and the additional strain of competing in Europe, the task ahead of them has grown too. Despite this, the current squad is capable of defending both their Serie A and Coppa Italia trophies, and I expect them to do so. The Champion’s League however will present a far greater challenge. An exit in the first knockout round to Fortuna Hjerring should be viewed as a failure for such a talented group, but there are several teams who’re a level above la Viola who could be waiting in the quarter finals. If they reach the semis, we’ll start to dream.
Serie A - 1st
Coppa Italia - winners
Champion’s League - quarter finals.
Supercoppa final vs Brescia - 23/09/2017 17:00 CEST
Champions League first knockout round vs Fortuna Hjorring 04/10/2017 20:30 CEST Champions League first knockout round vs Fortuna Hjorring 11/10/2017 20:00 CEST
Serie A vs Brescia 04/11/2017 14:30 CET
Serie A vs Juventus 09/12/2017 14:30 CET
Serie A vs Empoli 27/01/2018 14:30 CET
Serie A vs Brescia 10/03/2018 15:00 CET
Serie A vs Juventus 21/04/2018 CEST
Serie A vs Empoli 22/05/2018 CEST