Not that we're thrilled or anything, but it's official: Mario Gomez has been sold to Wolfsburg for €7 million, bringing a close to his Fiorentina career with all the fanfare of a moist fart. He'll take his €4.2 million salary and general poutiness with him. Nobody in this deal really loses, but the Viola are doubtless the biggest winners, and here's why.
1. Financial flexibility. Although €7 million may seem like a steal for die Mannschaft's starting striker--a proven poacher who's scored everywhere he's been besides Florence--it's a staggeringly high price. According to reports, Corvino was holding out for about €4 million; getting nearly double that is a real coup. Although Mario's worth, in a vacuum, is probably around €15 million, his insistence on leaving Fiorentina and refusal to commit to anything completely undercut the club's ability to sell him for more than peanuts. With his salary off the books, the Crow will be able to extend key players this season or offer richer contracts to transfer targets.
2. Streamlining. Paulo Sousa has an embarrassment of riches up top: Nikola Kalinic, Giuseppe Rossi, Josip Ilicic, Mauro Zarate, and Khouma Babacar would all start for the majority of Serie A teams. As is, it seems likely that another forward (probably Babacar) will have to be sold, as there simply isn't space for 4 strikers in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Now imagine adding Gomez to that mix as well. Yeah, kind of stupid.
3. The timing. As you may have heard, the transfer window is still open. Now armed with considerably more cash, Pantaleo Corvino can turn his attention to reinforcing other areas of the squad. With a first 11 that's well set, as well as some decent depth in most spots, this is an opportunity to add a so-called "luxury buy" to the squad; you know, the kind of player whom the Viola wouldn't otherwise have been able to afford.
4. Blood pressure. I've gotten the impression that Viola fandom at large, including this community, was pretty damn sick of Gomez's waffling. Starting at the beginning of this summer, he claimed that he was staying at Besiktas, couldn't stand staying at Besiktas, was open to returning to Florence, would never again play in Florence, hadn't thought about his future, wanted to play in Spain, wanted to play in Germany, didn't want to answer questions about his team next year, and couldn't understand everyone was irritated with him (it really hurt his feelings). Seriously, my blood pressure's probably gone down, like 15 points.
5. Tactics. Gomez never fit the Fiorentina ethos, and now Sousa will never again have to break his system to fit him in. The remaining strikers have all shown that they're more willing and able to be incorporated into the Portuguese mister's plans, and have all proven productive in Serie A in various capacities. Gomez hasn't.
6. Goals. Without putting too fine a point on it, it's really nice to have strikers who can score. Mario surely wasn't with the Viola. This really is addition by subtraction.
Mario's final stats with Fiorentina are a pedestrian 47 appearances, 14 goals, 6 assists, 5 yellow cards, and countless broken hearts. For comparison's sake, that puts him roughly on par with such legends as Edmundo, and just 194 off the pace for Kurt Hamrin's club record. So long, Mario Gomez, and (to quote Grouch Marx) never darken our towels again.