The past two months have been quite the rollercoaster as a Fiorentina fan. First, the Viola qualified for Europe for the first time in six years. Then, weeks of drama ensued over whether star player Lucas Torreira would return to the club or not. After Torreira officially left and publicly hit out at the club's management, I was feeling pretty defeated. Given Rocco Commisso’s declining interest in the club, there seemed a real chance that Fiorentina was going to be left out to dry just as the Viola had gained some serious momentum on the field.
As I said in my article a few weeks ago, despite how disappointed I was (and still am) with the club’s handling of Torreira, the mercato was (and still is) very young. That meant there was plenty of time to prove doubters, like myself, wrong.
And you know what? Joe Barone and Daniele Pradè have done exactly that, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The Viola brass has clearly listened to Vincenzo Italiano’s demands to try and give him as complete a squad as possible before Moena.
For any club to reach its full potential, there needs to be cohesion and trust between the front office and the manager. Most importantly, this involves bringing in players which fit the club's needs both on and off the pitch. Barone has been very clear that the players signed thus far have Italiano’s approval, and given the attributes of all three official signings and Dodô, I have every reason to believe him.
What makes Barone and Pradè’s work more impressive is the budget they’ve been given. It’s clear at this point that Rocco Commisso will not be putting money into the club as he did in his first two years in charge. Thus, Barone and Pradè have gotten creative in the best way possible.
Bringing in a player like Pierluigi Gollini on a loan for just half a million euros, with an option to buy for €8 million, is brilliant business.
Remember what Vincenzo Italiano was able to do with Pietro Terracciano, someone who was never expected to be a Serie A starter, in net? Now, we can replace him with Gollini, someone who has ample experience with the ball at his feet. This could transform the types of combinations the Viola are able to work when playing the ball out of the back, all at next to no cost! In addition, it’s underrated the impact that a character like Gollini will have off the pitch. His teammates at both Atalanta and Tottenham were fans of his, and bringing more cohesion to the locker room is always a good thing.
Next, consider the formula Pradè, Florentino Pérez, and Fali Ramadani concoted to bring Luka Jović to Firenze.
Even in the worst-case scenario, where Jović plays exactly like Aleksandr Kokorin, the Viola will have only sunk around €20 million in salary over four years into the Serbian. While that’s a lot of money, it’s far more likely that Jović gets back to his goalscoring ways, as he’s a supremely talented player that has every tool necessary to thrive at a place like Fiorentina. To acquire someone like him permanently at zero up-front cost is remarkable.
Finally, I’ll also give credit to Nicolás Burdisso. He was reportedly pivotal in the negotiations to bring Dodô to Fiorentina (which should be made official early next week), and he’s been exceptional working as Pradè’s #2 over the past year.
To be clear, there’s still a lot more work to be done, but most of the core pieces are now in place for the Viola’s European campaign. Unless Milenković leaves, I wouldn’t expect any more incoming transfers until after Moena, and that’s completely fine. Now, Italiano can evaluate the entire squad during the retreat and then decide where we still need upgrades. Still, the club’s proactive policy early on this mercato will pay dividends throughout the season, and I can’t wait for it to begin.