Violanews recently reported Brescia’s interest in Fiorentina midfielder Marco Benassi. That’s nothing crazy; the Rondinelle are just barely in the relegation zone, and adding a proven Serie A producer should be what they’re trying to do. The real kicker in the story, though, was the claim that the Viola were willing to listen to offers starting at €4 million, pending Giuseppe Iachini’s requirements.
“Wait,” you may be thinking, “Why in the hell would Fiorentina sell Benassi for €4 million? He cost €12 million just two and a half years ago, and at 25, you’d expect him to be entering his prime. This is just weird.” Reader, you’re not wrong. But, because “just weird” is right in Viola Nation’s wheelhouse, let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on here.
Even if you look at the amortized value of Benassi’s deal, €4 million wouldn’t cover the transfer fee due to Torino, which is €2.4 million per year over the life of his contract, which ends in 2022. In simpler terms, Fiorentina would need need somewhere between €4.8 million and €7.2 million (depending on when fees are due, pro-rating, and other factors) to avoid losing money on the deal.
Daniele Pradè, though, isn’t likely to give up a player for below market value. While Benassi is one of the squad’s highest earners at a €1.1 million annual salary, his contract isn’t so bad that Fiorentina would take a loss on him just to get his wage off the books, especially with the likes of Rachid Ghezzal (€1 million), Valentin Eysseric (€800,000), Cyril Théréau (€750,000), and Sebastian Cristoforo (€700,000) making a lot of money to ride the pine. While having him on the books until 2022 feels a bit burdensome, he’s a sporadically useful player and far from being deadweight.
So there’s no financial pressure to sell Benassi unless the club desperately needs funds to make ends meet, which seems unlikely this soon in Rocco Commisso’s reign. So what is it? Does everyone just detest him, and selling him for peanuts would fix the dressing room? I’m not part of the Viola in-crowd, so I don’t honestly know. However, Marco’s never been anything but a team player, taking his demotion to the bench this year in stride and working hard whenever he’s on the pitch. Too, he’s captained a number of different teams throughout his career—Inter Milan’s Primavera, Torino, Italy’s U21s—so he seems like the kind of guy who’s got some leadership qualities.
There remain only two possibilities, then. The first is that someone fed Violanews (which is an outlet we genuinely love and rely on, so this is in no way a shot at them) a load of hooey. That’s possible; none of us are infallible—see Ted’s Memorial Blind Guess Department for proof of a few of our, uh, whoopsies—and the transfer window only amplifies the goofiness. Heaven knows that we’ve missed some transfer rumors in a big way; Violanews might have just swung and missed, which is fine.
The more likely culprit, though, is someone we know. Someone with clear knowledge of the team’s financials. Someone who knows a thing or two about the transfer window. Someone with an axe to grind against Fiorentina. Someone who’s got a bunch of contacts in the Viola biosphere that he can tap into if he wanted to stir a few things up.
We’re talking, of course, about Pantaleo Corvino. If this kind of rumor came out while the Crow was running things, we’d immediately pass it off as a typical smokescreen. We’re choosing to believe that, for reasons inscrutable to everyone but himself, he’s firing subterfuges into the atmosphere as he used to every January. We’re intrigued to know how it ends up.
But yeah, if Marco Benassi gets sold for €4 million, I will eat my sock.