Several news outlets report that Juventus are preparing a €40 million bid for Federico Bernardeschi, so I guess we’d better talk about it. Fiorentina has resigned itself to losing the young winger, although the fans still aren’t particularly happy about it. If he does indeed end up with the Juvenuts, expect that dissatisfaction to approach levels somewhere near full revolt.
After all, Berna’s far and away the most dynamic player in the squad. He contributed 14 goals and 5 assists in 42 appearances this season and frequently dragged his team single-handedly to results despite the increased defensive attention he saw this term. He also earned a spot with the Azzuri, for whom he’s become a regular contributor, although he’s currently wrecking shop with the U21s.
It’s awfully reminiscent of Roberto Baggio’s ignominious exit, when the Viola accepted a then-world record transfer fee for their best player from their greatest enemies; the ensuing riots caused a fair amount of damage in Florence. After claiming that he’d been “compelled” to agree to the move, his refusal to take a penalty against his former club, and his infamous moment with the Viola scarf, rather redeemed him in the eyes of Florence, although the Bianconerri never really forgave him.
Of course, Berna’s hardly been compelled to leave the only club he’s ever known (excepting his year at Crotone, that is). He’s turned down a contract extension that would make him a Gigliati past 2018, which has signaled his desire for pastures new to various major clubs. Although Inter Milan initially appeared the likeliest landing spot, Juve’s overtaken them recently, which isn’t surprising given the Old Lady’s burning desire to gobble up every single promising young Italian. The reported interest from Barcelona is almost certainly nothing.
Berna himself has been very quiet throughout this whole thing, so we don’t know his feelings on the subject. We certainly know our own, though, and they go something like this. 1) Please not Juve please not Juve please not Juve please not Juve... and 2) If we’re really in for a full rebuild from ground up, €40 million is a substantial sum to help that along.
Best case scenario, obviously, is that Fede has a change of heart and signs on for another decade or so, becoming an Antognoni-esque bandiere and leading Fiorentina to glory. But since his heart seems set on leaving, it’d be hard to turn down that pile of cash from anyone but Juventus. But it’s Juventus, and that makes all the difference.