There was a noticeable omission from Udinese’s starting line-up last Sunday and it wasn’t until 70 minutes of Marco Giampaolo’s first game as Head Coach for the Rossoneri that Rodrigo De Paul was brought on as a substitute to seal their fate;
It took two minutes for the Argentinian International to deliver the assist for debutant Becao, haunting Giampaolo - whose side failed to inspire in a 1-0 defeat. De Paul, valued at €35m, would have likely been a transfer target for AC Milan in recent years and is equally adept as an attacking midfielder, left-winger or mezzala. Following their agreement with UEFA relating to Financial Fair Play breaches they have elected for a shift in transfer policy, distancing them from a potential move in the near future. The most likely destination for De Paul this summer has long been considered Inter Milan.
Inter have been incredibly active so far this transfer window, successfully regenerating their squad in the image of newly appointed Head Coach Antonio Conte, including the loan signings of Alexis Sanchez and Cristiano Biraghi earlier this week. With attentions being focussed on positional needs, sealing moves for a second striker in Sanchez and a left wing back in Biraghi, possibly represented an opportunity for Fiorentina to close in on another longstanding target. According to Di Marzio on Thursday, De Paul had become the primary target for La Viola’s midfield.
Despite featuring for a defensive Udinese side otherwise devoid of any creativity, De Paul was a stand out performer in the Serie A last season. Playing mostly as a left-winger or attacking midfielder, De Paul ended the campaign with 9 goals and 8 assists, leading them to a surprising twelth-placed finish. These performances also led to recognition from the national team - the 25 year-old recently impressed for Argentina throughout the Copa America in Brazil.
The potential move for De Paul has not proven to be straightforward however, and less than 24 hours after Di Marzio’s report, it was ruled out by Sporting Director Prade definitively - as covered in Friday’s poll.
Curiously in July 2013, Prade made the following comments regarding a signing Fiorentina would go on to make in Mario Gomez;
“The situation with Gomez is pretty simple. There is nothing done at this moment. He is a strong player, but he is very expensive. Fiorentina’s financial situation is stable, but we have to respect certain parameters. Those are not in place right now. We also have to follow the financial fair play regulations.”
While there is comparatively less certainty in the statement on Mario Gomez, it is possible that negotiations for De Paul may not be over yet.
What is certain is that Prade has already made fine progress in rebuilding the Fiorentina midfield, however if Marco Benassi is not considered by Vincenzo Montella as a first-choice option, then a more creative mind will be required to complement the combative abilities of Erick Pulgar and Milan Badelj.
De Paul would be an inspired choice to complete the midfield three. Not only this, if Federico Chiesa is expected to depart next summer, it would be sensible to acquire a player with the quality to have a similar impact on the wing sooner rather than later - which would explain the ongoing links to Matteo Politano as an alternative target yesterday.
Politano was one of Inter’s most consistent players last season and they have been reluctant to part ways so far this summer, despite question marks over his role in Conte’s system. Fiorentina are prepared to offer up to €30m, which represents a slight profit on the total fees paid by Inter to acquire the Italian International from Sassuolo twelve months ago and allows them to continue their pursuit of Ante Rebic - a deal that Prade will be monitoring closely.
De Paul, Politano or if nothing else, these reports are an impressive display of Fiorentina’s ambition under new owner Rocco Commisso - it is now up to Prade to decide how big of a splash La Viola are really willing to make.