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Pioggia Viola : AFC Fiorentina

Started on 20 November 2019 by OohAhCantona
Latest Reply on 3 September 2020 by OohAhCantona
Losing Chiesa is a huge shame, but there have been some very good signings to make up for his departure. Huge supporter of Izzo and Pellegrini, personally.
Chiesa is a big loss!
2020-01-24 23:40#265730 Griffo : Chiesa is a big loss!

Yeah, but he went with a truck load of cash coming back. He had a good season, but Pedro was so solid I think I can manage without Chiesa. Defense is our problem.

2020-21 KITS RELEASED

The primary change this year is the complete elimination of the mono-color look which was used for every kit last year. A more traditional purple-gold-red color scheme seen in their logo is now the basis for their kits. Var Group is in the last year of their kit sponsorship and the club is looking for a new one for next season. If Fiorentina can continue to improve in Serie A and remain in Europe, Europa or Champions League, they may be in line for an improved sponsorship and possibly a new kit manufacturer as Le Coq Sportif has yet to be renewed for 2021-22.

Those kits are a thing of beauty.
Very cool kit update post

REBUILT SQUAD FACES HIGH EXPECTATIONS


The hills are alive with the sound of tactics.

Vincenzo Montella opened the pre-season with a training camp in Trentino-Alto Adige, and he would need every second of it to get this team working together after a near total rebuild. There were reports that Fiorentina, primarily owner Rocco Commisso, were looking into taking the team abroad to improve brand recognition but Montella didn’t want to add to the problems of getting almost an entire team oriented with his tactics. He has made it clear that his focus is on winning, not commercial tours, and he needs to players to buy into this as well.

Friendly (N) : Fiorentina 1 - Mainz 05 1
Friendly (A) : Arezzo 2 - Fiorentina 5
Friendly (A) : Fulham 0 - Fiorentina 3
Friendly (A) : Hellas Verona 0 - Fiorentina 4

After a bumpy start against Mainz 05 I Viola did the bumping as new members came together much better, you couldn’t even tell the team sold off three of their best players including their starting central defenders. Arezzo managed a few goals late in the game as Montella put on back ups to get some game time, but outside of that they were tough to score on and even tougher to stop from scoring.

The biggest issue was once again injuries as Lyanco would miss most of the pre-season after injuring his calf in the Arezzo game. Pedro would end up with a bruised ankle against Hellas Verona and be ruled out for the Serie A opener against Juventus, but Dušan Vlahović has shown himself to be a capable back up option.
Hopefully Vlahovic can step up. Injuries once again though... Concerning!
That's not a bad pre-season, good luck in your first game!

MASSIVE SELL OFF FUELS TUMULTUOUS ROSTER REBUILD

Vincenzo Montella didn’t come into this season with the intention of selling off his best players, but a number of them forced his hand and signs pointed to a focused rebuild of the roster. Federico Chiesa really started the whole thing and Montella decided to turn it into an opportunity to improve the senior and youth squads.

Chiesa was the first domino, and things were heated as a number of bigger clubs came calling. Borussia Dortmund were in the hunt with a significantly lower bid (£38M) that they tried to sweeten with future sale profits, but if Chiesa was going to leave Fiorentina needed the money now. Liverpool and Manchester City (£41M) came in low while Manchester United (£65M), Arsenal (£60M), and Chelsea (£60M) weren’t interested in low-ball offers. Fiorentina accepted the Manchester United, Arsenal, and Chelsea offers but Chiesa came to contract terms with Manchester United and filled the coffers.

Nikola Milenković refused to sign a new contract and joined Germán Pezzella in demanding a transfer, having lost out on Chiesa made Arsenal keen on adding Milenković and they paid £30M for the privilege. Pezzalla ended up taking the money in a move to China, and then the real sell off was on. Montella listed all of the extraneous players and managed to get a decent sum for all of them. Fiorentina would need every bit they could get as two of their starters (Milan Badelj and Dalbert) would have their loans end. A whopping (37) players returned on loan, and those not ready for the first team ended up on the transfer block. With all the sales Montella would be sitting on £110M in transfer funds, a paltry sum for one of the super rich teams but a King’s ransom for I Viola.

The first transfer flare up came when Montella agreed to a fee for CAM Pelayo Morilla only to have the transfer blocked by the Board of Directors because he wasn’t Italian. While this reportedly resulting in a shouting match it would lead to an Italian spending spree in order to get Morilla’s transfer approved. LB Luca Pellegrini, RW Riccardo Orsolini, CB Armando Izzo, CB Matteo Gabbia, and RW Federico Ricci were added to improve the squad and make the roster heavily Italian. Montella and General Manager Daniele Pradè stayed mostly in Italy and preyed on smaller teams to weaken their competition while strengthening themselves. Only three senior transfers (LW Martin Terrier, LW Tellas Magno, and CAM Evander) came from outside Italy, this made everyone very happy. Landing Magno, with a number of bigger suitors, could be the biggest move of the season. The situation at LW is such that he’s going to have the opportunity to play, but many think he could be better than Chiesa. Burning one of their non-EU signings on Magno may have been the best decision they made.


Magno could be a massive signing.

The biggest issue Fiorentina ran up against, and can’t fix for some time, is their standing in the eyes of players. With nearly £50M burning a hole in their wallet they couldn’t pay enough to get some players to join the club, specifically a young CB. Fiorentina agreed to a fee for Daniele Rugani (Benfica), Duje Caleta-Car (Marseille), Gianluca Mancini (Roma), and Jules Koundé (Sevilla) only to have all of them refuse to discuss a contract. All of them went for over £30M, and Koundé appeared to use the whole thing to get a new contract with Sevilla. Pradè was forced to go back to Torino and nab Izzo to join his former teammate Lyanco. It’s clear that Fiorentina need to improve their standing in the world if they plan on attracting players from bigger teams.

Senior / Major Transfers (Out)
Federico Chiesa (RW, Manchester United) £65M
Nikola Milenković (CB, Arsenal) £30M
Germán Pezzella (CB, Shanghai SIPG) £20M
Riccardo Saponara (CAM, Alavés) £4.9M
David Hancko (LB, VfL Wolfsburg) £3.7M
Valentin Eysseric (CAM, FC Nantes) £3.5M
Maximiliano Olivera (RB, Brescia) £3.4M
Bryan Dabo (CM, Atalanta) £2.7M
Martín Cáceres (CB, Al-Arabi) £1.6M

Milan Badelj (CM, Lazio) Loan End
Dalbert (LB, Inter) Loan End
Rachid Ghezzal (RW, Leicester) Loan End

Senior Transfers (In)
Luca Pellegrini (LB, Juventus) £23M
Talles Magno (LW, Vasco da Gama) £17M
Riccardo Orsolini (RW, Bologna) £14.75M
Lyanco (CB, Torino) £13.5M
Armando Izzo (CB, Torino) £13.5M
Martin Terrier (LW, Olympique Lyon) £10.5M
Evander (CAM, FC Midtjylland) £7M
Matteo Gabbia (CB, Milan) £6.25M
Federico Ricci (RW, Sassuolo) £1.8M

Final Transfer List (Impact Signings)
Costantino Malerba (CF, Xanthi - Italy) £1.5M
Giuseppe Viola (LW, Inter - Italy) £1.5M
Franck Blanc (CM, Beerschot VA - Belgium) £825K
Zié Doukouré (LW, FC Nantes - France) £500K
Bruno Robbiati (RB, Inter - Italy) £550K
Ivan Castro (CM, Rio Ave - Portugal) £550K
João Mubenga (CB, Paços de Ferreira - Portugal) £400K
Hélder Lavado (CF, SC Braga - Portugal) £325K
Rui Silva (CF, Boavista - Portugal) £300K
Roberto Cannata (CB, Lastrigiana - Italy) £100K

Pradè and Montella didn’t just spend on senior players, the youth system is practically destitute and needs substantial investment. Without 10’s of millions to spend and restrictions on non-EU signings they focused on Italy and Portugal to find the kind of future talent they desperately need. System depth is still a bit of an issue and anyone still has a shot at being called up to the senior squad at the moment, in an ideal world all of these signings would need to make their way through the U-20 and U-18 squad first. It’s going to take more time and investment, in players and infrastructure, before Fiorentina can get there.

The most surprising signing was CB Roberto Cannata, he came highly recommended by scouts but blew the coaches away when he arrived in Florence. He has speed, size, passing skills, and the ability to lead from the back. If Montella can unlock his potential they may have signed a superstar, for I Viola and Italy, for a pittance. Giuseppe Viola might also turn out to be a great signing, and not just because of the name, his arrival from Inter sparked an argument in the organization over the pecking order between him and Abdou Fall. Viola was keen on the move from Inter based on potential senior squad opportunities, and if he develops quickly he could very well see the field in the next year or two.
A sensible strategy from Montella. A lot of quality has been lost, but the money has been spent sensibly. Let's hope it enables improvements to be made in results this year to push up the table after a decent season last campaign.
Ballsy move to change the squad so much but hopefully one that pays off. Some big sales but some big signings. Good luck with the season ahead.
2020-01-31 21:38#266110 Justice : Ballsy move to change the squad so much but hopefully one that pays off. Some big sales but some big signings. Good luck with the season ahead.

Pezzella & Milenković were clearly not staying, it was either sell them or get killed financially by letting them walk.

2020-21 AUGUST : GROUP OF DEATH

Serie A (H) : Fiorentina 3 - Juventus 3


Vincenzo Montella didn’t have to wait long for Fiorentina to be dropped right in the middle of the Serie A title chase, an opening game against a hated rival wouldn’t give the team much time to get ready for the season. Artemio Franchi would be noticeably full of black and white striped fans, despite the importance of the rivalry I Viola have not yet become a must-see event. Juventus is a favorite to win the league, for good reason, and the matchups against Maurizio Sarri have served as important points in the season and Fiorentina’s turnaround. Anything aside from a loss today would feel like a win for the organization.

“Yes, there is pressure to win, but it is a long season” said Montella about the importance of a win “what we do today will not shape the entire season, that is up to us.”

A chain smoking Sarri would seem to take a similar approach to this game, the real pressure is on Juventus to crush a team that has a long way to go to catch up to them. Sarri would select a midfield diamond, a tactic that has proved troublesome to Montella, but with the players available it wouldn’t really matter what formation they took. Right away Juventus asserted themselves, balancing out Fiorentina’s ability to control possession and out-shoot their opponents on a regular basis. The midfield diamond was doing exactly what it was designed to do, Marco Benassi and Filip Jagiello (starting for the slightly injured Erick Pulgar) looked overwhelmed trying to work a double pivot. Fiorentina tends to gobble up poorly made passes off defensive pressure, but Jagiello and Benassi were having trouble even getting involved which cut off Evander in the middle.

Juventus drew first blood in this one, on a goal fairly familiar to I Viola fans, with Ronaldo running to the corner of the goal area and sending the ball back in toward the penalty spot once he made it to the end line. Rodrigo Bentancur was waiting and managed to slip the ball through a crowd of Fiorentina defenders to make it 1-0 after 26’. The way Juventus was getting off shots despite a somewhat even split in possession seemed to point to an easy win, they just needed to grind down Fiorentina and the three points would be theirs. That narrative turned on its head a bit when Dušan Vlahović, starting for an injured Pedro, did his best Pedro impersonation with a goal that is now extremely familiar to Fiorentina. Defensive pressure on the wings sent the ball back to Giorgio Chiellini, who found himself immediately under pressure, and he tried to pass the ball back inside to his central defensive partner Leonardo Bonucci only to have it intercepted by Vlahović. Close to the goal already, and nobody within ten paces of him, it wasn’t hard for Vlahović to level the game 1-1. Juventus continued to dominate but their grinding wasn’t creating goals, it took Ronaldo doing his thing on an overmatched Lyanco to get the lead back 2-1 in stoppage time of the first half. Bartłomiej Drągowski was having the game of his life, but he’d need to put together another half of it if Fiorentina was going to have a chance in this game.

For once, Fiorentina were able to turn the tables on someone dominating them in possession. At 63’ their ability to move up and down the wings, now that the center of the field was crowded, finally turned into a goal. Luca Pellegrini came up the left wing without anyone pressuring him and sent a low cross through the box, a little luck went Montella’s way when the cross hit Alex Sandro but continued across to the right flank and found an unmarked Pol Lirola. Lirola repeated the low cross and this time is sailed into a space Vlahović could step into and send the ball crashing into the back of the net. Wojciech Szczesny didn’t have much of a chance on that one, the cross was just far enough out that he didn’t move off his line and now Sarri was looking at a 2-2 game. Artemio Franchi came alive at 77’ when a corner resulted in the kind of transitional opportunity that tends to go against I Viola at times. A clearance by Mattia De Sciglio floated to just above the arc to Benassi who distributed the ball just as Juventus pressed up the field, Jagiello snuck the ball just near the edge of the box to Evander and Juventus were suddenly caught out with everyone but De Sciglio up field. De Sciglio was dead in the center, marking Vlahović, playing Evander onsides who was given a wide open shot on goal that he didn’t miss. Down 3-2, with the home crowd going wild, Juventus wasn’t put off and Gonzalo Higuaín scored at 82’ on a header off a deep pass to bring things level again.


Ronaldo almost snagged the PoM with his dominant performance.

In the end the fact that Fiorentina managed to stand toe-to-toe with Juventus in what amounted to a shootout was stunning. If you had told fans that Juventus would score three they would have assumed there was no way Fiorentina could take a point, let alone win, but they managed to do it. The PoM award would go to Drągowski, despite allowing (3) goals, his (13) saves would earn him a 9.1 rating and a point for I Viola. Not the best start to a season, but definitely a sign that Fiorentina are ready for a fight in Serie A.

2020-21 EUROPA LEAGUE GROUP DRAW

Fiorentina would follow up Juventus game with two very solid wins. A 3-0 win over Hellas Verona and a 2-0 win over Parma would put the team in a great place to get some terrible news. The Europa League draw would leave Montella pale, an easy walk to knockout rounds would not be in Fiorentina’s future.

Group F
Tottenham (ENG)
AS Monaco (FRA)
Fiorentina (ITA)
Videoton FC (HUN)


This is as close as the Europa League can get to a group of death, three teams with solid chances to advance and a very good chance Fiorentina get sent home at the end of the group stage. The next closest group in difficulty is C (RB Salzburg, PSV Eindhoven, Everton) but that group lacks a dominant team that should rip everyone apart.
That's an absolutely horrific group to be drawn into. As you say, qualification is certainly not going to easy. A good start to the domestic season though. Very pleasing.

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