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Badelj could be nearing an exit

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The stalwart midfielder's agent is busily trying to engineer deals to get the Croatian international out of Florence.

Please find a new agent.
Please find a new agent.
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

We heard Milan Badelj's agent Dejan Joksimovic spout off a couple months ago about how disrespected he felt disrespected and demanded a move for his client. The Fiorentina brass treated that like you'd treat a fussy child: they refused to pay Maksimovic the attention he clearly wanted. After all, Badelj is under contract for another 2 years and is a key cog in the Viola machine, and the club's hardly likely to let him budge out just because his agent is antsy.

But it seems that we've underestimated exactly how offended Maksimovic was, because he's been spotted in Rome, meeting with Lazio officials, and he's expressly stated that his purpose is to finangle a move to the Biancocelesti. He also claims that the player is desperate to play in the Champions League, which is entirely at odds with a move to Lazio, who sit in 8th, just 2 points ahead of Chievo Verona. He's also name-dropped the rather disparate pair of AC Milan (still not a Champions League team) and Atlético Madrid, who've publicly declared their admiration in the past. In a weird twist, though, he's flatly rejected AS Roma as a potential landing spot.

Perhaps it's just a ploy to wring a raise out of the Della Valles. Badelj makes an even €1 million a year, which puts him as the joint 5th-highest earner on the team, along with Davide Astori, Gonzalo Rodríguez, Manuel Pasqual, Matías Fernández, and Josip Iličić. If so, it's a very aggressive negotiating tactic from Maksimovic, who also represents centerback Ricardo Bagadur, who's currently on loan to Salernitana in Serie B. Whether the whole affair is a smokescreen or is actually a real attempt to leave remains to be seen, but it will keep all eyes on Florence through the summer.