As we edge closer and closer towards the new season following the summer of the European Championships, we have finished our transfer business and are ready to approach the 2024/25 season.
The first arrival of the summer came in the form of a loan deal until the end of the season with Bayern Munich’s Italian defender Nicoló Armini
joining us until the end of the season to cover a void left behind in the defensive positions.
Armini started out his career with SS Lazio before making his first-team debut at the end of the 2019/20 season. Loans to Chievo (Serie B ) and Frosinone (Serie A, 37 appearances) were largely successful before he fully established himself with his parent club in the 2022/23 season. This earned him a move at 21 years old over to Germany where he joined the then-reigning Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for €30million. After only eight league appearances in two seasons for Bayern Munich, he took on an unsuccessful loan move to AC Milan, who despite winning the league, never made a Serie A appearance. He joins us this season for a second consecutive loan spell in Serie A.
Our second signature of the summer was a permanent move as English left-back Lewis Gibson
flies across the continent from Merseyside to join us at Artemio Franchi for the 2024/25 season.
Starting out his career at Newcastle in the academy, upon signing a professional deal with them, Everton quickly snapped the defender up in 2017/18 for a hefty €4.6million. Loans to League One sides Burton Albion and Swansea City followed in which Gibson took on a lot of game time before returning to Goodison Park in 2020 to make his Premier League debut. In the two seasons at Goodison Park, Gibson made 10 league appearances before another series of loans to Championship sides Fulham, Aston Villa and most recently, Stoke City. With 180 competitive league games to his name, Everton transfer listed Gibson this summer which I took the opportunity to swoop in for the left-back for €4.2million.
of Atalanta became our third and - by that point - the most expensive signature of the summer as he joined us for a fee of €14million, which was his release clause at Stadio di Bergamo.
After starting his career at Internazionale, competition ruled him out of any first team action as Bettella forced a move to Atalanta back in 2017. He spent two consecutive seasons in Serie B on loan to Cittadella and Bologna between 2019 and 2021 before returning to Atalanta and becoming a first-team regular in the 2021/22 campaign in which he made 27 Serie A appearances. After three seasons of regular football at Atalanta, the club’s poor finish last season as they narrowly avoided relegation to Serie B caused us to pick up the unhappy defender for a cut-price deal of only €14million.
Our most expensive signing came after Bettella’s signing as sc Heerenveen’s talented young winger Andy Frankel
joined us for a huge fee of €21.5M (rising to €31M dependent on clauses). Frankel came as a result of the Emanuel Vignato sale boosted our budget, meaning we could meet Heerenveen’s pricey valuation of the right-winger to replace the Santiago Bernabeu-bound Vignato.
Despite only making his first-team debut in the Eredivisie last season, Frankel was hugely impressive in the game he played as he created five goals in 13 outings in the Dutch top division as Heerenveen finished 6th in their division last season.
It simply wouldn’t be an Aapo Virtanen transfer window at Fiorentina if we didn’t bring back a member of the AC Oulu old-guard. Wilson Gutiérrez
joins both Rostislav Hora and Nikola Boskovic as the third member of Virtanen’s old team to make the move from Raatti Stadion to Artemio Franchi. The Colombian attacking-midfielder joins for a fee of €1.4million (his release clause) and signs on until June 2029.
After beginning his career with Liga Postobón side Atlético Nacional, he spent three seasons as a professional player there before Virtanen snapped up Gutiérrez for €1million in 2023. Across two seasons with AC Oulu, he made 30 appearances in all competitions - including Oulu’s historic Champions League run in 2024.
In perhaps one of the most high-profile movement of the summer, it was Leicester City’s James Maddison
who joins us on a free transfer. With such a good bargain came bad news however, as Maddison only became available once we had already signed two non-EU players in Lewis Gibson and Wilson Gutiérrez (blame Brexit). This means that Maddison is ineligible to play for us until next season and because of this, he has been loaned out to Eredevisie’s Feyenoord for the 2024/25 season.
Starting out at Coventry City in 2013, Maddison became noticed by Norwich City who snapped up the budding English star who had been making waves in League One. It was in the 2017/18 season after his loan to Aberdeen when Maddison got his big break, though. After 14 goals in 44 league appearances from midfield at Carrow Road, Premier League Leicester City forked out €24million for the attacking-midfielder in 2018. After 77 appearances for Leicester in the Premier League and two loan spells at Mainz 05 and Southampton, terms of a new contract were not agreed between Maddison and Leicester boss John Coleman and he left at the end of his contract to come to Fiorentina and then loaned out to Feyenoord.
Joining hours after Maddison, we arranged a deal for another non-EU player who cannot be registered for the league campaign until next season. Daniel Zapata
joined us for an initial fee of €9.5M (rising to €12.5M dependent on performance clauses) from Argentinian giants River Plate.
was the next to join us at Fiorentina as his boyhood club Genoa were relegated to Serie B last season after finishing 20th in Serie A. This made his relegation release clause become active and luckily we were able to get in before any other Italian side to sign the 22-year-old right-back.
Venturelli made his professional debut on loan with Cosenza Calcio in Serie B in 2020/21 in a season where he made 35 league appearances for his loan side as Cosenza reached 9th place that season. Whilst he was on loan to Cosenza, his parent club Genoa were promoted to Serie A once again and he became an integral part of their starting eleven in the club’s first season back in the top-flight. From there, Genoa have become a yo-yo club as they were relegated to Serie B once again in 2021/22, before winning promotion again the season after, before once again being relegated last season. After 81 appearances for Genoa, Venturelli became unsettled by the instability of the club’s league position and after contract negotiations, we signed him for €14.75million - his release clause.
After being transfer listed just this summer, Zinedine Zidane’s youngest son - Theo
- joins us at Fiorentina for a bargain price of €300K from Real Madrid’s “B”team, Castilla.
With his father’s influence and help from becoming a club legend at Santiago Bernabeu during his playing and managerial days, Theo became involved in the Real Madrid youth system like his other three brothers had. Theo never made any impact up until the 2021/22 season when he bursted into the Castilla side and became a regular in La Liga 2, making 41 appearances and assisting 9 times, scoring 2 goals. Despite relegation, Theo improved his form further with 16 assists and 6 goals in 31 appearances before a loan move to La Liga 2 outfit Deportivo La Coruna. Theo proved once again his quality outside Real Madrid with 13 assists and 3 goals in 42 appearances for Deportivo La Coruna in 2023/24.
With Davide Merola as our only main goalscoring outlet from January last season, I thought it was about time I invested in another striker to challenge the outstanding goal record of Merola from last season. Alberto Cerri
became the main target for our competition as striker as he joined for a fee of €7million from Serie B’s Bologna.
Arising from Parma’s academy system, Cerri joined Juventus on a free transfer in 2015 but his playing time at such a strong club was always going to be difficult. A series of loans followed for Cerri, involving the likes of Cagliari, SPAL 2013 and Pescara. However, it was Cerri’s two loan at Perugia in Serie B (33 apps, 15 goals) and Cagliari in Serie A (33 apps, 10 goals) that his talent became finally acknowledged, although not by Juventus who let his contract expire in 2020. He joined Serie B side Bologna on a free transfer in 2020 and shone in his first season, scoring 18 goals in 36 appearances as he guided his side back into Serie A that season. His season in Serie A was not as good as Bologna were sent back down, but for the two consecutive seasons Cerri has spent in Serie B, he has been nothing short of sensational. Every single season he has been with Bologna in Serie B, he has won the divisional top goalscorer award as he has scored 55 goals in 104 games with Bologna in Serie B. However, a third consecutive season in Serie B with Bologna was not how Cerri wanted his career to be like and they received €7million for Cerri’s services.
With Koen Casteels placed on the transfer list to get rid of his hefty wage, we brought in Stefano Gori
to become our new back-up keeper to Nikola Boskovic for the new season.
Despite never playing in Serie A even though he had spells at Brescia and Milan, Gori has been fantastic for Pisa Calcio in the Italian third division. Joining in 2018 from FC Bari, Gori has managed to keep 77 clean sheets and concede only 187 goals in the 210 appearances at Pisa. Although he has very limited experience at this level of football, he is a great shot-stopper and on a comparatively much smaller wage than Casteels, Gori seems a good investment.
Moving onto our final arrival of, in my opinion, a very successful window, we signed French teenager Mamadou Kanté
for a fee of €4million from Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais.
Kanté came through the academy ranks at Stade Rennais and made his full Ligue 1 debut at the club at just 15 years of age. Last season as a 16/17 year old, Kanté became much more involved in the first-team despite his youth as he made 19 appearances in all competitions. Before this, Kanté was massively impressing in the youth and reserve teams at Stade Rennais, with 74 goals and assists in 112 non-competitive appearances in the reserve level at the club.
In total, our transfer spend this summer was €77million - just €7million more than the fee we sold Vignato to Real Madrid for.
Moving onto our departures, the first to leave the club was in fact our 20-year-old midfielder Corentin Sanchez
who moved to to EFL Championship side Aston Villa for a fee of €2.1M (rising to €3.2M).
and Miguel Borja
followed Sanchez out of the door for a combined fee of €16million as they joined Olympique de Marseille and Sporting CP respectively.
The fourth departure became the transfer that tipped our transfer window on its head as following a huge scrap between Europe’s biggest clubs, Real Madrid got their hands on our winger Emanuel Vignato
for a record sale of exactly €70million, which allowed me a free reign in the transfer market with so much money added to the budget.
was signed up by fellow Serie A side Sassuolo for a fee of €3.6million, meanwhile our Czech striker Martin Graiciar
was signed by Foggia for a fee of just under a million euros.
, returning from his successful loan spell at Torino last season was bought permanently by his loaning team for a fee of €5million, after Torino had paid €2.3million the season before the take the Frenchman on loan for the season.
Romanian centre-back Eduard Dutu
moved back to his home country as Liga I side Dinamo Bucharest signed up the defender for little over €500K.
In our second-most expensive departure, our 29-year-old Italian midfielder Marco Benassi
, who had been at the club for six years was sold to fellow Champions League outfit Napoli in a transfer worth €16.5million.
Two of our youth players in Luigi Giorgi
and Leonardo Angelini
were both sold to Milan and Salernitana Calcio respectively for fees that could rise above €1.5million.
Following the knowledge that James Maddison
could not be registered for the upcoming season after joining on a free transfer from Leicester, the €28M-valued attacking-midfielder moved on loan for the season to another reasonably large European club in the form of Feyenoord in the Netherlands.
rounded off our transfer window in terms of departures as following the signature of Pisa Calcio Stefano Gori on a free transfer, Casteels became third-choice goalkeeper at the club. With Super Lig runners-up SK Galatasaray coming in with an offer of €4million, the offer was immediately accepted and Casteels joins the Turkish side.
In total, we made €120million in player sales this summer which has funded the overhaul of the first-team and improved the club finances significantly.
Really gutted I couldn’t pull off one last miracle this tournament, but I’ll take 2nd place… Bring on 2026!
My return to Finnish football has only enhanced my reputation in the nation, that’s for sure.
We certainly massively overachieved by even qualifying, never mind getting to the brink of winning the thing! We had the tactics, but it was ultimately overpowered by France’s pure quality in players, but it took them long enough to be in charge!