Florence is buzzing once again. A side that faced the threat of fading into the background of Italian football only a year ago is starting to hope again. It has been forty-four long years since the Viola have tasted victory in the Serie A but you would struggle to find a single Fiorentina fan who isn’t biting their nails with excitement this time around.
After an uncharacteristically busy Mercato, the Florentine club is looking to finally end the long drought and win the league. Many would disagree and many more would dismiss their credentials, but Vincenzo Montella’s men have a few things going for them. El Presidente Mario Cognini has assembled a team that might very well rival the likes of Juventus, Napoli and Milan.
The sale of Stevan Jovetic might have come at the most opportune of times, as at that very moment a forward of world class pedigree was available for a fraction of the price that he once commanded. Mario Gomez was bought in from European champions Bayern Munich to replace the prodigiously talented Serbian international, for a somewhat frugal £13 million.
The German striker will be an immeasurable asset in what is a World Cup year. He has maintained fastidiously that he is willing to give it his all for Fiorentina, with a World Cup call-up on the line. Add to that the cut-price deal made for the explosive Josip Ilicic -formerly of relegated Palermo- and you have a stellar front line that any and all opponents ought to fear.
Another good acquisition made during the summer is that of former Valencia man, Joaquin. His pace may have declined in the years since he’s left the Mestalla, but his hunger for the game remains the same and his width, combined with Gomez’s aerial prowess, might just remind Viola fans of the Luca Toni days.
The addition of former AC Milan captain Massimo Ambrosini has also strengthened the ranks and provided quality cover for the midfield duo of Borja Valero and Alberto Aquilani. The club has also decided to exercise their option to sign winger Juan Cuardado in a co-ownership deal with Udinese. The return of Juan Manuel Vargas after a year on loan at Genoa will also provide more depth to a team already brimming with wide men.
Another man who will be looking to bang in the goals for the team this season is former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi, who has struggled for fitness since his arrival in January. The twenty-six year old former Italian international will also be looking to get back to top form, and stake his claim for a spot on an Italian national team that seems bound for Brazil next summer.
All in all, the Viola have had a busy transfer window, and with their first Serie A win already in the bag with a 2-1 win over Catania, the fans can look forward to a season where silverware is more than just a schoolboy’s dream.
The Florentine outfit was left licking their wounds after missing out on a Champions League place by the slimmest of margins, and that pain might very well drive them to finally banish their demons and challenge on all possible fronts in what looks to be one of the most eagerly anticipated seasons in recent Serie A history. The club have lost the considerable talents of fan favourite Stevan Jovetic but have more than made up for his departure by bringing in a host of goal scoring talent.
Though many think Fiorentina might break into the top three this season, you have to be a Viola at heart to truly think that they or any other Serie A side can challenge the Old Lady in the race to the summit of the league. A lot will depend on how well the new signings take to the crucible that is Italian football, and the fate of Adem Ljajic, who seems to have a deal in place with AC Milan.
The tide is turning in Italy and teams like Fiorentina are rising once again to face the perennial top dogs. If there was ever a time to strike, this is it, and the patrons of the Stadio Artemio Franchi will be hoping that their beloved ACF Fiorentina can claim the ultimate prize and bring home the Scudetto for the first time in nearly half a century.
Predicted finish: ThirdPublished 27 Aug 2013, 10:10 IST