Mr. €50 Million Nikola Kalinić’s refusal of a big money move last month was a story which spanned a lot of the window for La Viola. Despite the loaning of both Marco Sportiello and Riccardo Saponara, it was Fiorentina’s joint top scorer’s admirable refusal to tread the well trodden path to riches in far east asia which set tongues wagging. The emergence of the Chinese Super League has seen the whole of Europe batten down the hatches on their top players, however Fiorentina’s remarkable offer they received for Kalinić was one which looked too good to refuse. The possibility of recouping €50 million euros for a hugely sporadic player who is approaching 30 and lacking the kind of consistency which push him into the upper echelons of player, was frankly unbelievable. For 2 reasons; it’s €50 million. For Kalinić. Yes, Nicola Kalinić. Secondly the possibility of recouping that kind of sum rarely passes under Corvino’s nose, a sum which La Viola can only hope realistically receive if, god forbid, Bernardeschi decides to seek pastures new.
However, discussing the potential €50 million sum was pointless if Kalinić didn’t fancy tripling his wages and playing alongside Axel Wiesel and Alexandre Pato. He has spoken out about his decision to stay with Fiorentina, one which is undeniably admirable given the rather human nature to want fatten our wallets as much as possible.
“I do not believe to be worth 50 million, it is too much," he told Corriere Della Sera in an interview in which he displayed his humility and opened up about his love for Florence.
"Walks in the center of Florence to those in the Tianjin industrial district would not be quite the same.”
You're quite right Nikola. However in a rather refreshing tone compared to the introverted egocentricism we have become accustomed too in the modern game, Kalinić’s homeliness and affinity to Italy is something which is quite unique. Growing up amidst the awful conflicts which stretched across the Balkans has perhaps given him a gratefulness and an understanding of the importance of security and family.
"I always like to walk or ride a bike with my wife and my son, but I do not have favorite places, and with the Italian still I get along so well, with all the Slavs who are in the dressing ends I speak my language"
"I really like the relationship I have with the Florentines. It is beautiful and in this city I feel at home. "
Kalinić’s affinity towards Florence is crucial in this case, and he has a pretty special bond with Sousa, of which he says he “made me be born”. Kalinić’s love towards Fiorentina is something noteworthy, and despite his frustrating performances his admiration of the culture he accredits so much to is applaudable. Of course, without getting too soppy, it would be ludicrous to suggest that Fiorentina weren’t secretly hoping to flog the Croat off for a crazy sum. However, he is here to stay.
I hope Corvino has managed to dry his eyes after seeing the €50 million golden carrot dangled in front of his face so cruelly snatched away, because Nikola is here for the long haul.