According to ViolaNews.com, Mati Fernandez has signed a contract extension that will keep him in Florence until 2018. Thus ends a rather quiet transfer storm; as Matigol was free to leave on a Bosman at the end of the year, clubs in Chile and Mexico had been lining up offers for him. In typically unfussy Fernandez fashion, though, the rumors have been squashed, and the player will stay with la Viola for at least another two years.
"[Mati] isn't tall, doesn't score many goals, doesn't have outstanding sponsors, doesn't reside in the heart of popularity, but is nevertheless one of the favorites of the coaches."Alessandro Rialti
Details of the deal remain scarce. We know that it'll keep the midfielder at the club until 2017, and that the club has an option for 2018. The financial part isn't available yet, but he'll probably continue to make somewhere in the neighborhood of his current 1 million euros per year salary.
Although Mati hasn't featured as often as may have been expected after a brilliant campaign last year and a Copa America winning performance with Chile (that penalty, though), he's an integral part of the team. His energy, dribbling, and passing are all tremendous, and his ability to play as a central midfielder or a trequartista gives Paulo Sousa some tactical flexibility. Add to those qualities his ability to fire in set pieces--apparently he's gained the nickname il Pesticcino (after the process of stomping on grapes to make wine) for his pre free kick routine--and his quiet professionalism, and he's the model of an excellent player.
Il Corriere dello Sport's Alessandro Rialti writes that Mati, "isn't tall, doesn't score many goals, doesn't have outstanding sponsors, doesn't reside in the heart of popularity, but is never the less one of the favorites of the coaches." As one of the first quality players signed to begin rebuilding from the grim Mihajlovic/Delio Rossi era, it's good to have him back.