We all know Rocco Commisso says what he thinks and is to-the-point. This was proven once again yesterday, when Fiorentina’s owner spoke at the Nereo Rocco award ceremony in Coverciano. When asked about an extension for star striker Dušan Vlahović, he offered his perspective.
“I don’t know if he’ll sign, we’re calm. We’ve been working on it for months, with some days positive, others not... I speak with Dušan and he tells me he only wants to focus on the pitch and to talk with his agent, but I speak with the agent and he tells me to talk to the player.”
This is new information, and unfortunately, it checks out. Dušan is right to be focusing on his game rather than a future contract, but it’s not surprising that his agent (Darko Ristic) seems intent on moving Vlahović on to fill his pockets. While it’s nice that Dušan isn’t represented by a Ramadani, Raiola, or Mendes, Ristic is young and doesn’t have any clients near the pedigree of Dušan. This is an opportunity for Ristic to establish himself in Calcio as a big-name dealmaker, it’s clear his advice to Dušan is not to stay in Florence.
Commisso went on, describing in detail the contract offered.
“We have offered him a 5-year contract worth €40 million, I worked a year to make what this makes in 2-3 days... what I can say is it is the largest contract ever offered to a Fiorentina player, including Batistuta and Rui Costa.”
This is well-known information already, but it’s always nice to get confirmation. This would put Vlahović slightly ahead of the €4 million after-tax Franck Ribery was earning, and well above the levels of the 90s’ era club legends.
When asked whether he was annoyed by the situation, Commisso said
“A little bit, yes. Fiorentina is not just Vlahović, there is the group and we want to stay concentrated.”
While it’s not normal to hear an owner say they’re annoyed with their own star player, I get where Rocco’s coming from. No player is bigger than the team, and Vlahović’s contract has the potential to distract from what’s been a great smart. As Commisso said, turning down this amount of money is a huge risk, especially when Dušan’s only scored one goal from open play in six matches.
At the same time, this was a very predictable outcome once the club turned down Atletico Madrid’s €60 million offer last August. As I said at the time, if the club were to turn that offer down I expected an extension to be signed immediately after. Now, the club risks losing him at a discounted price next June, and doubt will continue to fester amongst the fanbase and club. For now, let’s just focus on the present and enjoy a team that finally looks like they can compete for Europe.