Fiorentina has been flipped upside-down over the summer. The board has overseen one of the biggest turnovers of players in recent history, and put the wheels in motion for the club to be sold in the near future. Frankly, the club is in a bit of a mess right now. There's no getting away from this, and Fiorentina must adapt or die.
The man trying to control this whirlwind of change is Stefano Pioli. Admittedly, after Paulo Sousa's acrimonious departure, the standards have slipped, but this does nothing to diminish the expectation Pioli has shouldered. He has inherited a dressing room filled with players alien to Fiorentina and each other, and he has had to reconstruct a style and team with a squad which has played just six competitive games together. Pioli has an absolutely ginormous task on his hands, and it will take what we impatient fans hate the most, time.
Fiorentina's current league position doesn't tell the whole story. If the Atalanta game was refereed by a competent, able official then Fiorentina would be in 9th position, which, given the current state of the club would not be a position to be sniffed at. While Pioli has overseen a mixed start in terms of results, he is clearly figuring things out and putting together the final pieces of the starting 11, and it won't be too long before he really starts to work some magic with the side.
Marco Sportiello, Davide Astori and German Pezzella make up a impressively strong spine, and Cristiano Biraghi has had a very good start at left-back. Jordan Veretout and Milan Badelj are a well balanced pair who complement each other fantastically; Badelj's ability to screen the defence and provide a platform for the attack gels perfectly with Veretout's all action box-to-box style.
Granted, Fiorentina's attack is still something Pioli is trying to piece together. Cyril Thereau is a player Pioli clearly values greatly but his exact position in the side isn't yet clear. Federico Chiesa has started the season in blistering form, and Gil Dias looks to have boundless potential. Lets not forget, Valentin Eysseric and Riccardo Saponara are still to be integrated, and I'd be lying if I wasn't excited about Rafik Zekhnini. It's a matter of time before Giovanni Simeone starts hammering them home to give us all a warm, fuzzy nostalgia and if Khouma Babacar is to really explode, this year is it. This is without mentioning Marco Benassi, who, if managed correctly, could very well be the jewel in Pioli's side.
Without getting overly excited about a squad which is clearly poorer than last years, Pioli has an embarrassment of potential at his hands. The 4-2-3-1 he has deployed so far looks to be a very good fit, and as formations go, its a pretty solid foundation for future tactical changes. Pioli's success at Lazio in constructing a functional, successful team within its means was arguably under appreciated. However, this is not to gloss over the souring of things at both Lazio and Inter, but, nevertheless, Pioli is a smart man, and has the experience and ingenuity to squeeze every last drop of talent out of this current crop of exciting prospects.
In as candid a way as possible, suggestions that Pioli's position should be questioned after just 6 games are ludicrous. This is not to say he is immune to criticism even at this early stage, because he shouldn't be. Pioli needs time, and we should really give him it.