Fiorentina just wrapped up a very quiet winter transfer window, but that doesn’t mean the squad is set in stone for the rest of the year. Franck Ribery, of course, is a 37-year-old with a lengthy history of injuries. Lengthy layoffs for any of Gaetano Castrovilli, Sofyan Amrabat, or Giacomo Bonaventura would throw Erick Pulgar into the XI and leave 36-year-old Borja Valero as the only midfielder on the bench. With Antonio Barreca failing to impress, any niggle for Cristiano Biraghi could scupper the entire left flank. An absence for Dušan Vlahović would mean that Cesare Prandelli has to rely on either an out-of-position Christian Kouamé or newly-signed Aleksandr Kokorin to lead the line.
DS Daniele Pradè doubtless has a shortlist of possible Bosman signings in the event of catastrophe. While it’s always tough to predict which way he’ll jump, we can make some guesses about the names on that list, although let’s all hope that this remains a purely theoretical exercise; if Fiorentina have to dip into the free agent market, that means something has gone very wrong indeed.
These aren’t necessarily the players I think would fit best in this team, mind you, although some of them might actually do well. Rather, this is my effort to get in Pradè’s mind. For that reason, I’m not including, say, Diego Costa, who seems to be focusing on a return to England, makes a lot of money, and probably wouldn’t accept a backup role behind Vlahović, whom Fiorentina obviously see as the short- and long-term starter. Rather, these guys are emergency bench options who could probably fill in for a couple of months if disaster strikes.
Juan Sánchez Miño
The 31-year-old Argentinean parted ways from Elche two days ago, although he probably isn’t too upset considering los Franjiverdes are second-last in the league and he’d been benched for 4 straight matches. He’s got experience in Serie A, having signed with Torino in 2014, and holds an Italian passport. While he’s definitely nowhere near Biraghi’s level, he’s got the requisite pace to do a job at wingback, especially when the other options are Barreca, Lorenzo Venuti, and Igor.
Still just 28, the Brazilian has a Portuguese passport and thus wouldn’t require a non-EU spot. Most recently with Sampdoria, the former wunderkind originally signed with AS Roma in 2012 before bouncing back and forth between the Giallorossi, Inter Milan, and the Blucerchiati on loan. He never really found his feet and has fallen out of favor at every club he’s been at, but he’s also got plenty of Serie A experience. He’s had offers from Santos and Cruzeiro to return to Brazil but hasn’t signed yet, which could mean he wants one more shot in Europe. He’s quick enough and pretty good on the ball but lacks a bit on the back foot.
It feels like Imbula’s been around forever, but he’s just 28 and has been a free agent since parting ways with Sochi in October. He’s been linked to Celtic and Panathinaikos in the past couple of weeks but still hasn’t signed anywhere, and his experience in Italy (half a season with Lecce in 2019) could tip the scales his way. He’s one of those players who never quite took the next step after showing early promise, but he could probably do a competent screen the defense if anything were to happen to Amrabat or Pulgar.
The 34-year-old Dane ended his relationship with Genoa in January and may not have much left in the tank, but he could offer some value as a clever passer and set piece specialist in the deep midfield role. Never the quickest or most physical, he’d put a lot of pressure on his midfield colleagues to help him cover the center of the pitch, but his eye for a pass and his really good dead ball delivery could make him useful. The question, really, is whether or not he still has the legs. He’s reportedly been training with Ajax and listening to offers from Cagliari and Torino, so somebody thinks there’s still some value there.
Having just turned 28, the former Arsenal striker has been unattached since leaving Toulouse at the start of the season. With links to West Ham United, Pescara, and Zamalek, it’s pretty tough to figure out where his valuation really is, but it’s not hard to see him as a Serie A backup. A big, physical target in the box, he’d likely thrive in the Viola attack, which features more crosses per game than any team in Serie A. He’s never been particularly prolific, with a personal best of 6 in the top flight, but he could be a functional piece to hold up play.
The former Ghana international also just turned 28 and has left Crvena zvezda after a very successful 4-year stint, tallying 60 goals and 15 assists in 104 appearances. He’s generated plenty of interest from across the globe, with clubs from Sweden to Saudi Arabia purportedly in talks with him, but the Genoa academy product could look for a return to Italy, where he’s spent a quarter of his life. He’d offer a very different option from the current strikers on the Fiorentina roster, as he’s very quick and likes running in behind. While he did spend a couple of years on the books at Juventus, he never actually made a competitive appearance for them. If nothing else, he’d offer a reasonable change of pace from Vlahović up front.