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BatiGol Weekly 243: Slow moves

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In which we discuss the humanity of the end of the mercato.

SOCCER: JUL 24 International Champions Cup - Fiorentina v Benfica
Behind the scenes they grow their schemes, hiding intentions, revealing only fractions.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Daniele Pradè and Joe Barone haven’t minced words about their desire to downsize Fiorentina’s squad, and that means that some of the players currently employed by the Viola remain on the chopping block. The new ownership group, combined with Vincenzo Montella’s correct urge to find players who fit his system, means there’s a lot of roster turnover right now, and that it’s likely to continue until 23 August, when the mercato ends for Serie A.

This is the cruelest time of the year for a professional footballer. If you’re a fringe player, you at least suspect that your bosses, the fans, and maybe even your coworkers want you off the squad to save money or open up space for a new acquisition or a teenager. You still go to training every day despite the knowledge that you’re not going to see the field this year, barring catastrophe, even as your future is bandied about by your employer, perhaps not entirely with your knowledge or consent.

You’ve worked your whole life to achieve this dream. You play a game for a living, yes, but there’s still a lot of stress around it, stress that anyone outside of this sphere does not and cannot understand. If you’re a professional athlete, you’re basically required to possess an almost psychopathic level of focus and self-confidence, but this kind of unrest is bound to wear on even the most stoic personalities.

So as we approach the close of the transfer window, let’s take a moment to remember that the guys wearing the purple shirts aren’t just a string of 0s and 1s like they are in FIFA or Football Manager; they’re fully autonomous humans who face unbelievable pressure every day and are doing the best they can to make their way in the world. They are all the heroes of their own stories, even as, to the fans, they do nothing but sit on the bench in their warmups, drawing a massive paycheck and contributing nothing, less than nothing, to the team.

There are a handful of guys who haven’t wowed Montella in preseason yet, earning minutes in the rotation to assure themselves of a role with the club. Andrés Schetino, for example, has no realistic chance of playing this year unless he leaves, and he surely knows it. Bryan Dabo, Valentin Eysseric, (not) Sebastian Cristoforo, and Federico Ceccherini are all talented and proven pros who can improve most teams but just haven’t caught on in Florence for whatever reason. Youngsters Gabriele Gori, Andy Bangu, and Josip Maganjić could make an impact with the senior team at some point but still need to grow, which means playing somewhere, anywhere, that isn’t Fiorentina.

Remember, then, as we wind down the window, that the guys we’re disparaging or dismissing are people who’ve worked their whole lives to get to where they are and, as far as we can tell, desperately want to both continue in their chosen career path and demonstrate their talent. Yes, they’re well-compensated for their work and yes, there are far more pressing issues in the world at large than this one, but let’s all try to exercise the common decency to not tear down a stranger for some perceived inadequacies that, as fans, we probably don’t really understand. Let’s try to support every player in purple, regardless of apparent contribution, for as long as that player’s under contract.

Okay, fine. You can have Cyril Théréau.

Latest news

We discussed the Franck Ribery rumor from every possible angle, discussing why it doesn’t make sense and why it does. Unbiased journalism at its finest.

We also tried to figure out how swapping Giovanni Simeone for Sampdoria’s Manolo Gabbiadini and couldn’t come up with anything.

We’ve got our official squad numbers for the upcoming season, and almost nobody made bad choices. Almost. Thanks, Bart.

We recapped the past couple weeks’ worth of Cristiano Biraghi transfer drama in one pretty succinct story.

Despite a rather unnerving first 80 minutes, the kids came off the bench to ensure that the Rocco Commisso era started on the right foot in the first competitive match of the season, a 3-1 win over Monza that represents the first win in Italy since February. Read our full coverage here.

Must read

We asked your opinions on a question and you answered.

Poll

Which of the likely-to-leave players will you miss the most?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Federico Ceccherini
    (23 votes)
  • 3%
    Sebastian Cristoforo
    (4 votes)
  • 63%
    Bryan Dabo
    (72 votes)
  • 0%
    Valentin Eysseric
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Andrés Schetino
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Cyril Théréau
    (12 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now

Comment of the week

Mike-R got bars.