Fiorentina is bereft of talent all over the pitch except for between the sticks, where Alban Lafont seems to be the clear number one despite an incredible showing from Bartłomiej Drągowski on loan last year at Empoli, proving that the Pole is more than ready for a starring role in the top tier as well. With two young goalkeepers and no established backup—Pietro Terracciano is on his way back to the Azzurri—that leaves Daniele Pradè with a problem.
Fortunately, there’s a proven and popular solution available, according to Repubblica (via ViolaNews), and that solution is named Emiliano Viviano. Fresh off a loan move with SPAL from Sporting Lisbon, the 33-year-old Fiesole native may be ready to operate as a backup and mentor at this point in his career. If he’s ready to sit behind Lafont, he’d be a perfect fit for everyone involved: he’d return to his beloved hometown with his family, provide Lafont and the rest of a young team with a steady and experienced leader, and let Drągowski leave to stretch his wings.
The mustachioed custodian has already had two stints with Fiorentina, so it’s not like it’d take him long to adjust. He’s a Viola academy product (which would help fill the necessary quota there) and spent a year in Florence on from Palermo back in 2012, when he replaced Artur Boruc and had a solid year between the sticks. Given his age and price tag—Sporting bought him last year from Sampdoria for €1.9 million—he’s well within the realm of possibility for Fiorentina. If SPAL can pay his wages, you’d have to think that Rocco Commisso could shell out for him as well.
It’d be a perfect homecoming for Viviano, who’s an unabashed Fiorentina fan and even named his daughter Viola. It’d also be a welcome respite from Sporting; he was at the training in which ultras attacked the team, prompting him to ask for a move away. Given the gemellaggio between Sporting and Fiorentina, there’s no shortage of communication avenues between the clubs.
While bringing in a 33-year-old backup goalkeeper isn’t exactly the sort of move to get fans’ hearts racing, it’d be a smart buy and would let Fiorentina cash in on Drągowski, who’s reportedly drawn interest from the Premier League and should have a price tag around €12 million even though he’s reportedly (and entirely justifiably) requested a move away from Fiorentina and Lafont. The only real hitch is that if Viviano took the number two shirt again, I might have a stroke. It just doesn’t look right on a goalkeeper.