A stunning article from Spanish rag La Marca claims that Borja Valero is “on the point of signing for AC Milan” for €10 million. The report continues that the Spanish midfielder will sign a 2 year contract for the Rossoneri, whom he nearly joined last year at the behest of Vincenzo Montella, who has retained an admiration for his former on-pitch general that we didn’t fully understand.
It’s a literally unbelievable story, because there’s no reason to believe it. For starters, various outlets around Italy have already rejected the account as pure fabulism. For another, we’re talking about Borja freaking Valero here. C’mon, man.
If true (which it’s not), it would be a tremendous blow to Fiorentina. Since signing 5 years ago, Borja has been the team’s best and most consistent player, setting the pace with his invention and work rate in the middle of the park. Losing him would throw the midfield into chaos and signal that Pantaleo Corvino is completely dismantling the squad.
More than his importance on the field, though, it’s Borja’s character that makes him such an inspiration. He’s the vice-captain, sure, but he’s more than that. He’s become a symbol of the city. With his wife Rocío Rodríguez (who’s a star in her own right) and their two sons, he’s made Florence not just a place of employment, but a real home. The connection he feels to the city is deep and genuine; he just got the geographic coordinates to the Ponte Vecchio tattooed on his arm, for crying out loud.
Sure, we’ve heard that he doesn’t fit into the 4-2-3-1 that Stefano Pioli intends to deploy this year. Sure, we’ve heard that the club may be leery of handing an extension to a player who’ll turn 33 this season. But selling him, especially to a direct rival like Milan, is the sort of move that could lead to riots in the streets and an utterly toxic atmosphere between owners and fans. And the DVs aren’t going to risk that.
The recent personnel moves we’ve seen indicate that the Della Valles obviously intend to restructure Fiorentina to place an emphasis on young talent, which can only improve the long-term health of the club. But they know better than to accept 30 silver coins for a player with the faithfulness of Angelo di Livio and the skill of Giancarlo Antognoni, because that would be the worst kind of betrayal.
So let’s all take a couple of deep breaths, take it easy, and then point and laugh at Marca for a desperate and feeble attempt to generate a story that isn’t there.