Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Fiorentina admits interest in Borini and Osvaldo

Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade has admitted the club is interested in bringing Liverpool's Fabio Borini and Roma's Pablo Osvaldo to Stadio Artemio Franchi.

Despite signing Giuseppe Rossi in the January transfer window, reports of interest in striker Stevan Jovetic has led the Viola looking at attacking alternatives.

Borini and Osvaldo played together for Roma before the former moved to Anfield in the summer, and even though Prade revealed the club's interest in the pair, he admitted it may be difficult to lure them away from their current teams.

"We are looking for a forward with the hunger for goals. A player who lives to score goals," he told Radio Toscana. "We like Fabio Borini, but it is unlikely that Liverpool will want to let him go. Osvaldo? I do not think that Roma will want to strengthen a direct rival of theirs, but you can never say never."

Vincenzo Montella's side is currently sixth in Serie A, 13 points behind leaders Juventus, and the club has scored the fourth-most goals in the league with 45 goals.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 12 : 20Serie A: Fiorentina spice up Italian top-flight

"Inter were too ugly to be true," said a contrite Stramaccioni when recalling the match.

Anyone who watched of the second half of Sunday's encounter between Inter and Fiorentina would have agreed with Stramaccioni. But the second half was actually the better half of the match for Inter.

Fiorentina had led 2-0 by halftime on Sunday, but it could have been 5-0. The Viola's fluid, flexible shape left Inter's midfield and defense in a haze. Fiorentina's Eastern European attacking duo of Stevan Jovetic and Adam Ljajic swapped flanks often and menacingly, getting behind Inter's backline with stunning ease. The pair ended the night with a brace each.

"I don't know if it was our best performance," was the modest reaction of Vincenzo Montella, the Fiorentina coach.

"Our opponents were notable and we were consistent throughout the game. The only regret is conceding that goal, but it was a step forward compared to our last match".

That "last match" was a defeat to Juventus the previous week, a comprehensive 0-2 loss that had led to worries over the competitiveness of this young, emerging team against teams of championship calibre. Sunday's performance will allay some of those concerns. After victory over Inter, Fiorentina sit sixth in the Italian Serie A, one point off Europa League qualification and two points off Champions League qualification.

Fiorentina are an exciting mixture of the young and the experienced, one of the many minor powers that have threatened Serie A's traditional power base this season. With Milan and Inter in a transitional phase and Roma at sixes and sevens once again after firing their coach Zdenek Zeman, the time was right for other teams to step into the void.

Napoli are at the vanguard of this new development, emerging as the only meaningful challenger to Juventus for the Scudetto this season. They are followed by a resurgent Lazio, led by Bosnian-born Vladimir Petkovic, and tiny Catania, a Sicilian club coached by Rolando Maran, in his first spell as a manager in Serie A.

Catania hired Maran after Montella left them to join Fiorentina. When Montella, a former Italian international striker known for his prolific left foot, joined the Viola last summer, the club needed a significant infusion of funds to challenge for European qualification. The club was bought in the early years of this century by the Della Valle brothers, Italian billionaires who specialize in leather goods, and Fiorentina had achieved Champions League qualification in 2009, during Cesare Prandelli's reign as coach. After Prandelli's departure to manage the Italian national team, however, the team had struggled to find consistency.

With Montella in charge, the Della Valle brothers reached into the depths of the transfer market and brought in a gaggle playmakers -- Borja Valero (Spanish), Matias Fernandez and David Pizarro (both Chilean) and Alberto Aquilani (Italian). Even with no European fixtures to contend with, Montella has managed to distribute the workload of his playmakers without provoking much bellyache, often starting three of them in a flexible 4-3-3 formation.

Montella has also been able to count on a dependable Eastern European axis in his team -- led by Montenegrin attacking sensation Stevan Jovetic and followed by compatriot Stefan Savic (defender) and Serbians Adam Ljajic (attacking midfielder) and Nenad Tomovic (defender).

Together, these seven players have made Fiorentina one of the most attacking sides in Italy, and the Viola's scoring record (45 goals) is second only to Juventus and Napoli in the league. They also have an extraordinary scoring record at home, averaging more than three goals per game in their nine Serie A games played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi so far.

However, they have won only three of their 12 away games so far, and Montella acknowledged that his side need to improve that record if they are to keep up their challenge for a place in Europe next season. "There is a big difference between our home record and away, more in terms of results than performances, so we have to improve on that," he said.

As for Inter, defeat cranked up the pressure on Stramaccioni, who sought to blame his side's Europa League fixtures -- and Fiorentina's lack of the same -- as a possible reason for the fatigue of his players. However, cramped fixtures are part and parcel of being a big club, and Stramaccioni, a former youth team coach at Inter who was promoted to the top job last season after Claudio Ranieri was sacked, will have the chance to make amends when his side meet cross-town rivals AC Milan next week in the Derby Della Madonnina.

Despite sharing the same stadium, Inter will be the 'home' side this weekend and their players will be wearing their traditional black and blue jerseys against Milan. Stramaccioni will hope the black and blue stops with the jerseys.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Fiorentina hail golden Pirlo

Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo has won the praise of Fiorentina boss Vincenzo Montella ahead of this weekend’s meeting.
“I would have given Pirlo the Golden Ball,” the former Roma and Catania tactician told Tuttosport. “It would have been a reward for an exceptional career.”
Viola technical director Eduardo Macia mirrored Montella’s view. “Pirlo deserved the Golden Ball,” he added. “He’s been playing at the highest levels for 15 years.”
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was given the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or prize ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo or Real Madrid and Barca’s Andres Iniesta.
Pirlo – who ranked seventh behind Xavi, Radamel Falcao and Iker Casillas – won the Scudetto last year, as well as helping Italy to the Final of Euro 2012.

Fiorentina to make fresh assault for Valencia man

Fiorentina are set to renew their interest in midfielder this summer but could face stiff competition from fellow Serie A sides.
Inter, Napoli and Roma have all enquired about the 24-year-old at one time or another although the Viola were interested in taking him during the winter mercato but failed to push a deal through.
The Argentinean has struggled for Los Che of late due to a series of injuries but has still managed an impressive 15 league appearances this season.
Valencia are also reported to be frustrated, according to a Calciomercato report, with the former man’s lack of consistency and could let him go at the end of this season.
Banega is out of contract at the Mestalla in June 2015 and could be available for ’s side to purchase for a deal starting at around €7.5m.

Fiorentina to raid Chelsea and Liverpool for £61 million worth of talent?

Italian side Fiorentina have this week been linked with big money moves for Chelsea and Liverpool players. What does this mean for Manchester City and Arsenal target Stefan Jovetic?
Even with the transfer window closed, there has been a surprising amount of speculation still doing the rounds.
Two of the more outlandish stories come from the continent, surrounding Serie A side Fiorentina.
Florence based newspaper La Nazione claimed this week that the club are interested in signing Chelsea's £50 million record signing Fernando Torres.
Torres nowadays would command less than half that fee. His time at Chelsea has not been a success, and he was not included in Vincent del Bosque's Spain squad for last night's friendly win over Uruguay.
Fiorentina have some money to spend after cashing in on Matija Nastastic to Manchester City for £13 million and Valon Behrami to Napoli for £7 million in the summer.
They spent £8 million on Giuseppe Rossi in January and £2 million on Polish starlet Rafal Wolski, and appear keen to add to their squad.
Sixth in Serie A, and four points off third place Lazio, Fiorentina are determined to reach the Champions League next season and upset the two Milan clubs in fourth and fifth along the way.
If they did, then they believe Torres can be convinced to join them. They 'rescued' Alberto Aquilani from his Liverpool nightmare signing him for just £5.5 million, and La Nazione says they hope to follow 'the same operation' to get Torres for a knockdown price.
Will it come off? We have little doubt Torres will be off this summer as Chelsea look to re-invigorate their attack, but a return to Spain would surely be his preference, to enhance his national team prospects along the way.
The second deal Fiorentina have been linked with this week is for Liverpool's Fabio Borini - signed for £11 million in the summer by the Reds.
The Italian forward rejoined Brendan Rodgers who he had worked with at Chelsea and Swansea, but has so far struggled for form, and then suffered a fractured foot which kept him out of action for near to three months.
He was one of the players who featured against Oldham in the FA Cup defeat, and is yet to appear for the Reds since.
Italian journalist Mario Sconteri last night told a radio show that negotiations between Borini and Fiorentina not only already begun, but reached an advanced stage.
He added that the club had even considered trying to bring the Italy under-21 striker back to his country in the winter transfer window.
Borini surely won't want to abandon Liverpool just yet, but if the claim negotiations are ongoing is true then it indicates that he is at least considering an escape route if things don't pick up for him between now and May. He has just one goal for the Reds, and that was in a Europa League qualifier.
So with Fiorentina having already signed Giuseppe Rossi from Villareal, and looking at two more forwards, what does that mean for their prized asset, Stefan Jovetic?
The striker is one of Europe's hottest properties, and while he was linked with Arsenal last month, both Chelsea and Manchester City are in the race and prepared to blow the Gunners out of the water from a financial perspective.
Juventus also want the 23-year-old, but Fiorentina chairman Mario Cognigni was unequivocal this week when he said Jovetic is not for sale, and is happy at the club where he has a contract for three more seasons.
We are sure he is right that Jovetic is happy, but what if Fiorentina miss out on Champions League football this season? We suspect the club are prepared for the inevitable, and this is why they are busy looking at striker targets.
After all, can you imagine Torres signing for Fiorentina to sit on the bench?

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Viviano: "In Turin without fear" before the Juventus game

A few days from Juventus-Fiorentina speaks Emiliano Viviano, who found the jersey holder just in time for the challenge greater. The goalkeeper infringes was interviewed by Mediaset and returned even on difficult days of January and the assumption of a farewell: "Throughout my career I have been lucky enough to play all the time and when I ended up on the bench I made my comments. Then I realized that the estimate of the coach was always the same, there have never been any problems between us, and I expect to have another chance. After all that I had to come to Florence seemed right to continue. At times I have heard some criticism too, someone said that I played with Fiorentina just because I was a fan purple, as if it were a favor, and this did not bother me.

The crisis of January? If we look at the performance I do not think we ever deserved to lose, it was right to continue with the same mentality and the same game and we were able to recover. The love of the curve? I am proud to represent the Fiorentina fans, I know that many would like to be in my place and sometimes they are a bit 'in trouble for this. Juve? Every game is a story in itself, we have demonstrated the first leg to be able to keep up with Juventus. They are very strong and we respect that, but we're going there to play it and try to get a result, in football anything can happen. Buffon better? Yes, absolutely, there are none like him. "
Best signing
Even neutrals were happy to see Giuseppe Rossi make his return to Serie A and give the League back a little of its lustre. The deal confirmed the good relations between the Viola and Villarreal and grabbed the early headlines in the transfer window. Still recovering from serious injury, he won’t be seen until the end of this season or the beginning of next but he remains a major coup for the Florentines. With goalscoring a problem, they are itching to get him back soon.
Why did they sign him?
There were a few eyebrows raised when the Tuscans moved to bring in Marcelo Larrondo from near neighbours Siena. His reputation in Italy is not particularly high, but he was seen more as a squad-builder for Vincenzo Montella rather than a regular starter. With Mounir El Hamdaoui seeming to be better coming off the bench and Luca Toni in his twilight years, another attacking option was high on the shopping list. Those who have seen him train swear he has major breakout potential.
Why did they sell him?
When he arrived at the club Mattia Cassani was rated one of the top right-backs in Italy and a great signing for Fiorentina. Unfortunately, he joined a team low on confidence and in a real slump and could not help turn things around. This season’s switch to a 3-5-2 formation has seen the more adventurous Juan Cuadrado favoured on the flank and left the ex-Palermo man surplus to requirements. His farewell message to the fans was a classy act from a model professional.
Most crazy rumour
The talk that Frank Lampard might fancy life on the banks of the Arno was one of the more absurd tales of the window. He may well be at the end of the line with Chelsea but it would have taken a huge wage cut to see him end up in purple. And yet the jungle drums had him eyeing a future in Firenze, with one website even duped into printing a picture which purported to show him in the Renaissance City. Still, the fact that there was even a link boosted the club’s profile.
No regrets
Rubén Olivera arrived in the last January transfer window to little acclaim and with a suspension still to serve. Once he was actually cleared to play he proceeded to pick up another ban and contributed little to the cause. When he did feature, his input seemed to consist mainly of fouling opponents rather than creating anything for the team. A deal with that home for ex-Florentines, Genoa, was gratefully accepted by player and club.
The obligatory ex-Juve man
For all that direct relations have soured once more between Fiorentina and Juventus after the Dimitar Berbatov affair, the Viola seem to still have a fascination with the black and white colours. How else to explain a late loan move for Momo Sissoko? He does not really seem to fit with the style they have favoured this season. But he brings qualities the squad definitely lacked and may yet prove the doubters wrong – after having his ‘Hunchback’ removed.
The big question
How will the new boys to Italy adapt to Serie A? Daniele Pradè and Eduardo Macía have scoured the globe to find players. Marvin Compper had fallen out with Hoffenheim, Rafal Wolski is a talent but on his way back from injury and Matías Vecino an exciting gamble. If even one of them settles in well it could be a real boon to the club. If all three prove a hit, it will be a bit of a miracle.
If January had only brought Giuseppe Rossi it would have still been a good transfer window at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Few other sides managed a signing of such stature to boost their ranks, even if he will have to fight back to full fitness. That might be the one criticism of the acquisition policy in the shade of the Fiesole hills – most of their purchases look like players for the future, not for the battle in the shorter term. That could yet mean European football disappears over the horizon for another year.