Well, this wraps up another January mercato. This was, if we’re being honest, one of the best winter windows in recent memory for Fiorentina. You can check out our exhaustive coverage of rumors, hearsay, and vile calumnies here, but for now let’s just briefly run through the highlights of this crazy month, shall we?
What with the public offer that Tianjin Quanjian made for Nikola Kalinic, Pantaleo Corvino was rather limited in his options for the first part of the transfer window. In true Fat Ninja fashion, though, he snapped up Atalanta goalkeeper Marco Sportiello on a 2-year loan deal, giving the Viola a proven star between the sticks for the foreseeable future, although the move certainly casts the eventual fate of Ciprian Tatarusanu in doubt.
After loaning out ever-tantalizing but ever-disappointing goalie Luca Lezzerini to Avellino in Serie B, signing teenage sensation Federico Chiesa to a contract extension, and bringing centerback Julian Illanes into the Primavera fold from out of the blue, the big news hit: Nikola Kalinic rejected Tianjin’s overtures, opting to stay in Florence. While the €40 million the Chinese club had reportedly offered would have been nice, it’s never a bad thing to keep your star striker. It also finally let Corvino know what his focus and resources would be for the remainder of the month.
With 2 weeks remaining in the mercato, Corvino struck in typical lightning fashion, this time swooping up a pair of Bari prospects for the Primavera. Rightback Giuseppe Scalera is a steady presence who captained the youth setup for the Galletti; trequartista Gaetano Castrovilli has already picked up a “new Cassano” nickname due to his impressive inventiveness in the final third.
Shortly afterwards, though, we bid farewell to striker Mauro Zarate, who was sold to Watford after half a season in and out of Paulo Sousa‘s doghouse. The move leaves Fiorentina awfully light at striker, where Kalinic and Khouma Babacar are the only remaining options.
The sadness was quickly mitigated, though, by the unheralded announcement that Riccardo Saponara had signed on a 2-year loan from Empoli. The Gigliati have long cast covetous glances at the talented attacking midfielder, but he arrived with no warning and a surprisingly affordable price tag. With that accomplished, Corvino sent young Kevin Diks back to old club Vitesse Arnhem for the rest of the year, then shipped Gilberto off to Vasco da Gama on loan. And with that, the Viola mercato ended.
AM Riccardo Saponara—loaned from Empoli for €1.5 million until July 2018; fee of approximately €10 million due in July 2018
GK Marco Sportiello—loaned from Atalanta until July 2018; fee of approximately €6.25 million due in July 2018
RB Giuseppe Scalera—loaned from Bari Primavera until July 2017; unknown future fee
AM Gaetano Castrovilli—loaned from Bari Primavera until July 2017; unknown future fee
CB Julian Illanes—bought from Instituto Cordoba for unknown fee
GK Artem Makarov—returned from loan at Taranto
ST Mauro Zarate—sold to Watford for €2.75 million
GK Luca Lezzerini—loaned to Avellino until July 2017
RB Gilberto—loaned to Vasco da Gama until July 2017
RB Kevin Diks—loaned to Vitesse Arnhem until July 2017
DM Edoardo Degl’Innocenti—loaned to Pisa Primavera until July 2017
CB Giacomo Minari—sold to Sassuolo Primavera for unknown fee