It’s been months since we knew that Fiorentina midfielder Jordan Veretout would leave Fiorentina. Ever the professional, the Frenchman calmly explained back in March that he wanted to take the next step in his career and play in a European competition this season. While he was a bit checked out towards the end of the campaign, he was hardly alone in that regard, so his stock remains high in the eyes of the footballing world. After all, he’s a 26-year-old who starred alongside the like of Paul Pogba for France at youth level and possesses the sort of all-around skill set that makes him perfect for the modern game.
Despite both the player and his current club acknowledging that he’s going to leave, though, he’s still at the Viola training camp at Moena, which seems a mildly absurd state of affairs, seeing as how he won’t actually practice with the team to avoid an injury that could complicate his move away. Jeered by the fans in the first preseason action and spending his time riding a stationary bike while his coworkers run through drills, he’s a bit of a forlorn figure.
The holdup comes from the potential buyers, of which there are two. The Fiorentina transfer team of Joe Barone and Daniele Pradè met with AC Milan this morning (again); according to Football Italia, the negotiations have progressed well, and the Rossoneri are closer to closing the deal than they were before. Barone and Pradè supposedly have a meeting scheduled with AS Roma this afternoon as well, though, which could muddy the waters quite a bit.
In some ways, it makes sense for Fiorentina to take its time. Both Roma and Milan (and Napoli before withdrawing from the running) have offered some combination of cash plus players, rather than the single lump sum of €30 million that the Viola have allegedly requested. If Barone and Pradè can play the Rossoneri and the Giallorossi against each other, they could force the price higher and higher, adding substantially to the transfer kitty, which is necessary in light of owner Rocco Commisso’s recent statement that the club would have to sell to buy.
The downside, though, is that Veretout is still lurking on the periphery of training, a specter of past failures. Until he moves on, it’s unlikely that the Viola will sign any new players, which in turn is probably enough to spook Federico Chiesa into forcing a move away instead of wasting another year of his talent in a dead end. Given the offers that Fiorentina has received, though, it makes sense that they’d hang onto Veretout: as other teams try to figure out Commisso’s level of dedication and judgement, they’re likely to low-ball the Viola until he’s established a reputation as a canny operator. Taking things slowly is a good way to build that reputation and should pay off down the road.
Of course, such long-term goals don’t help poor Jordan Veretout, who doesn’t need to be in Moena and doesn’t deserve the whistles of the fans at the training sessions and friendly matches. Hopefully one of Milan or Roma comes to its senses and makes a reasonable offer, allowing Veretout to move and Fiorentina to begin its rebuild in earnest. This purgatory is almost worse than the doldrums of last season.