In the aftermath of the January window slamming shut is the always-fraught process of new squad members picking their shirt numbers. With just Bryan Dabo and Diego Falcinelli joining Fiorentina, there’s not too much anticipation over which numbers get picked, but we’re still excited to know what they’ll wear.
For ultra-nerds like me, perhaps the funnest part of getting new players in the squad is finding out which number they choose to where and relentlessly analyzing it. For example, I was immediately skeptical of David Pizarro because he took number 7, which is a winger’s shirt; anyone who’s ever watched Pek knows that pace and width are antithetical to his style.
I was similarly trepidatious of Cyril Théréau’s 77, as Mounir El Hamdaoui was the last one to wear it, and the doubled-up numbers have a history of jackassery for the Viola: El Hammer, Valeri Bojinov and his 99, Juan Vargas and his 66 (a lovable jackass, but a jackass nonetheless), Felipe Melo and his 88.
Finally, you sometimes get a Marco Sportiello or Giuseppe Rossi or Bruno Gaspar who takes something inexplicable, like 57 or 49 or 76. These are the kinds of guys you have to watch carefully, because you never know when they’ll do something so out of the blue that it could give you a heart attack.
Fortunately, the two newest Viola players have kept it classic. Falcinelli opted for 11, recently vacated by Ianis Hagi. That number has a pretty dang good history in Florence these past 20 years: Juan Cuadrado, Alberto Gilardino, Fabio Liverani, Christian Maggio, and Fabrizio Miccoli all established themselves as excellent Serie A players. Youngsters like Hagi, Hernán Toledo, and Ante Rebić all showed flashes of brilliance in the shirt. Of course, you also get the odd Amauri or Edmundo, but Gilardino in particular should make fans feel quite safe about an Italian center forward wearing the Viola 11.
Dabo has similarly chosen a good, solid number. 14 has, in years past, gone to very steady squad players: the last three to wear it were Matías Fernández, Cesare Natli, and Luciano Zauri, with other steady presences like Bogdan Lobont, Davide Brivio, and Enzo Maresca also modeling it in the past two decades. Digging a bit deeper, we’ve seen some beloved figures wear it as well: Sandro Cois and Claudio Gentile, for example. This seems like the right kind of number for Dabo, who’ll back up Milan Badelj and add muscle to the midfield when necessary.