The January mercato is always fascinating from an entertainment standpoint, but frequently underwhelming in terms of talent acquired. For Fiorentina, the winter window has historically been full of some, shall we say, less impressive personnel moves. Here are the additions and subtractions from the squad, reaching back to Cesare Prandelli's third year in charge.
Desperate for goals, Daniele Pradè brought in a passel of attackers. Alberto Gilardino and Alessandro Diamanti were both useful reserves. Aleandro Rosi was about as mediocre as a player can be. Mohamed Salah, while brilliant, turned out to be a real dingus. The real kicker, though, was Juan Cuadrado leaving for Chelsea, which plunged Fiorentina into a search for a long-term option on the wing that they still haven't filled. That loss pushes the grade for this mercato down to a B.
Once again down a couple of strikers, Pradè rolled the dice on Alessandro Matri, who came up snake eyes. Modibo Diakité proved a serviceable stand-in at centerback, although he occasionally frustrated. And then there was Anderson, which, no. On the plus side, Rubén Olivera was sold; the only redeeming moment in the market was Marcos Alonso moving to Sunderland on loan, where he got the minutes he needed to improve tremendously. Given the Alonso loan, I'll bump this up to a D+, but just barely.
The only winter move this year was the purchase of an injured Giuseppe Rossi, who didn't set fut on the pitch that season. While his signing was a brilliant move, even with his injury struggles, Fiorentina finished 2 points out of 3rd place, losing the spot to AC Milan on the last day. The lack of additional reinforcements for a Champions League qualification push knock this grade down to a B, though.
Given the squad turnover in Vincenzo Montella's first year, it's not surprising that the club didn't make any midseason moves that year.
Probably the club's most successful winter window in recent memory. Neto took a few years to develop, but was briefly a star. Valon Behrami's lungbusting midfield play was the only positive under Siniša Mihajlović, and Amidu Salifu has occasionally looked like a decent player. Losing Cristiano Zanetti and Mario Bolatti, both of whom occasionally convinced under Prandelli, stung; it felt like the club was rooting out the last traces of San Cesare. Also, losing Papa Waigo was sad, because he was awesome, but getting rid of Felipe was way overdue. Overall, I'd say this one deserves a B+.
This is the year that Pantaleo Corvino signed a teenage Adem Ljajic for €3.8 million, which is a certifiable steal, and added Haris Seferović, who's been sporadically impressive, albeit at other stops. However, this is also the year that Mario "the Bane of Stevan Jovetić" Bolatti and Felipe, later of Inter Milan fame, signed on. This window also saw the departures of club stalwarts Dario Dainelli, Martin Jørgensen, and Nacho Castillo, though, so this one averages out to about a C+.
When the highlight of your mercato is Emiliano Bonazzoli, you know it's been a rough market. When the big striker replaced Giampaolo Pazzini and Dani Osvaldo, that makes it so so much worse. Let's give this one a D and move on.
Papa Waigo sure looked like a decent prospect, but never quite panned out. Manuel da Costa never even cracked the starting lineup and was sold on a year later; his only other fame was for some unbelievably icky nightclub behavior in Portugal. What makes this one sting is the sale of leftback Federico Balzaretti, who went on to star for Palermo and Italy as the best leftback on the peninsula for a couple of years. Meanwhile, Fiorentina muddled along with Manuel Pasqual and Massimo Gobbi. Also leaving the club were Belgian fringe international rightback Anthony Vanden Borre and rock-solid midfielder Michele Pazienza. For the quality of players who left, this one deserves a D-.
So there you go. A teenaged Ljajic, an injured Rossi, an unpolished Neto, a pinheaded Salah, and Valon Behrami are the best players to come out of the winter mercato in the past eight years. That's a success rate of 62.5% on bringing good players in during January, compounded by the exits of some of the most important players at the club. This probably sets the template for what we, as a fanbase, can expect: a couple of decent depth signings, and maybe a good player.