The transformation of Fiorentina

4 Dec
Celebration after Borja Valero's goal vs Milan

Celebration after Borja Valero’s goal vs Milan

There is no one in the World that this June thought Fiorentina will at any point, let alone at almost the half of the Serie A season, be 4th on the table. In fact, I’d bet there were more of those who thought it was much more likely to see them 4th from the bottom. So, what happened that made Fiorentina turn from a sad team whose coach beats one of the most talented players in the middle of an important game to a team that challenges for Scudetto? Even the beginning of transfer market this summer didn’t suggest that anything good awaits Fiorentina tifosi.

After the season ended, Fiorentina was without a coach, without a Director of Football, with its best player demanding to leave. So, what did happen? Apparently, something clicked in the owner,  Andrea Della Valle’s head that ridiculous night when Delio Rossi decided it was good idea to beat Adem Ljajić. That was, I guess, the proverbial bottom that the club hit and Della Valle decided to turn things around. But even that didn’t start well. A quest for a new Director of Football began. There were a lot of names in play, but Della Valle wanted one guy to make fans dream again. He wanted a person with the history at the club and also one that has experience in the job – Gabrielle Oriali. But, Oriali declined, stating that the club  couldn’t guarantee him signing of the players he thought Fiorentina needed. Della Valle had to turn to the next “target”, and it was former Roma director, under Sensi family, who left the club after new owners came to Roma. As some players that were in the club for years were sold, there was growing skepticism among fans. But fans didn’t know that the people in the club, for the first time in few years, knew exactly what they want – Della Valle told Prade’ that he wants team to play attacking football in the coming season and that idea should guide him in the search for the new coach. Prade’ knew who he wanted – Vincenzo Montella, who he made an interim coach at Roma and who, like Prade’, left the club upon the installation of new Roma board. Aeroplanino had a great season at Catania, playing a very exciting, modern, technical type of football and his former employees weren’t at all happy to let him go. In fact, they’ve asked one of the Fiorentina promising players, Salifu, in exchange. Della Valle was determined to make the team competitive again, and in order to do that he had to persuade a star player, Stevan Jovetić, to stay. He sent a clear message to any interested clubs that Fiorentina isn’t interested in selling its gem.

After that, Prade’ and Macia started working their magic. They’ve brought artists like Pizarro, Borja Valero, Aquilani, Mati Fernandez, Cuadrado. Prade’ sold one of the brightest young stars of Italian football, Matija Nastasić for as much as 16 millions and a little older but also very talented Montenegrin Stefan Savić. Together with Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez was brought from Villareal, and an instant cult figure among the fans – Facundo Roncaglia arrived from Boca Juniors, Nenad Tomović, former Red Star player, came from Genoa as part of exchange for Manuel Vargas (Tomović, like Cuadrado, was on a loan at Lecce last season), a goalkeeper, and a lifetime Fiorentina fan, who named his daughter Viola, Emiliano Viviano finally arrived at the club he loves so much etc.

Lot of fans are asking a question – what could have been if Berbatov arrived? Who knows. Instead of him, Prade’, at Della Valle’s suggestion, brought a veteran Luca Toni. While he certainly isn’t, and never will be, the same player as he was in 2006, he is very motivated and is playing very good. But he is crucial in another sense, he is very important for atmosphere among the players. When asked which was the best piece of business he did this summer, Daniele Prade’ answered – bringing Luca Toni and Cristiano Lupatelli, underlining the importance two of them have on dressing room atmosphere.

Talks about Fiorentina winning Scudetto are unrealistic. Though miracles do happen in football, they don’t happen too often. And some might say that what is already done this season is sort of a miracle. Fiorentina is the club that is trying to build something. To build a team that will in future be able to win at football consistently. And to do that with style. Who knows, maybe 3rd Scudetto will come sooner than anyone even dreamed of.

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