The Gigliati have been one of the most active clubs in Italy as well as the European scene since the opening of the transfer window. It is a clear indication of the ambition harboured by the management and the Coach Cesare Prandelli.
The latest player to join la Viola is Argentine Mario Bolatti who will join from FC Porto provided he passes his medical. The 24-year-old midfielder is best known for his winning goal against Uruguay which helped secure Argentina’s qualification to the World Cup. Bolatti’s signing comes at a time when the Gigliati are being linked with a plethora of midfield players such as Roma’s Matteo Brighi, Sampdoria’s Angelo Palombo and Sporting Lisbon’s Miguel Veloso. It is unlikely any of these players will be pursued unless la Viola will offload some of the existing midfielders. The signing of Bolatti will help the midfield area given Cristiano Zanetti’s tendency to miss out on a chunk of the season with injuries and the opportunity it presents Coach Prandelli in terms of rotating the squad and adjusting tactics.
Prandelli was visibly disappointed following the surprising 2-1 defeat to Bologna. The visitors are languishing in the relegation zone and had not won away prior to triumphing at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. The Coach faulted the players for giving the visitors the upper hand during the first-half but acknowledged the squad has had to deal with injuries and continuous changes to the starting line-up as a result. Prandelli almost had a full-strength squad to choose from with only Montenegrin star Stevan Jovetic and midfield anchorman Zanetti missing due to injury. The competition for fourth place is intense this season with clubs such as Palermo, Napoli and Cagliari all involved in the mix.
The Coach must have been mostly disappointed with the two goals conceded as la Viola entered the game boasting the league’s best defence with Bari and Inter. Ironically all three conceded two goals this round (Bari-Inter ended 2-2) and the Gigliati’s move to offload Dario Dainelli might backfire unless Alessandro Gamberini can return to full fitness relatively quick. The defence appears to be a concern now despite the solid record up to this point and the recent loan signing of Udinese defender Felipe Dias da Silva dal Belo. A quick glance at the options available for the Coach and it is quite noticeable the club will need to sign another central defender unless Danish player Per Kroldrup is given a run-out. The 30-year-old Dane is not a player for the future given his age and the fact Prandelli resisted using him prior to Gamberini’s injury. Gamberini did feature against Bologna but he was substituted and he probably needs some time before getting back to his best form.
The interesting fact was the Gigliati bench lacked any offensive firepower as the only striker on the bench was the inexperienced Khouma Babacar while the other offensive-minded player was veteran midfielder Martin Jorgensen who has rarely featured this season. Prandelli’s three changes during the match brought in three defenders with Lorenzo De Silvestri, Cesare Natali and Manuel Pasquale all participating as substitutes. The match left little for Prandelli to build on other than the return of Gamberini, Adrian Mutu’s goal which confirmed the Romanian’s return to form and the attacking play of Juan Manuel Vargas. The Romanian Mutu has scored regularly since his return from injury while the Peruvian Vargas has just recovered from injury and was one of the Gigliati’s better players on the pitch. Vargas continuously tested the Bologna goalkeeper with his shots and drives while laying off a number of balls for the forwards, particularly (the main culprit) Alberto Gilardino, to score from.
Gilardino had a night-off as he wasted a number of scoring opportunities but this should be overlooked since he has been firing on all cylinders in the past few months. Any player is bound to have a match during which he misses some scoring opportunities. The problem is la Viola can no longer waste precious points if they are to remain in pursuit of the coveted fourth place which paves the way for Champions League participation. The anticipated return of Montenegro’s Jovetic and the presence of new signing Adem Ljajic should provide extra impetus for the Gigliati’s offence. Ljajic will feature soon for la Viola after he participates in a few more trainings sessions to become familiar with the squad. Fiorentina will have options up front and will witness strong competition for attacking spots in the starting line-up but Prandelli is well aware of the need to have a balance in the squad to qualify to Europe next season.
Fiorentina Club Focus
Viola continue to grind out results – September 15, 2009
La Viola lose Gilardino and the points – September 18, 2009
Fatigue catching up with la Viola – September 22, 2009
Della Valle Resigns as Fiorentina triumph over Sampdoria – September 25, 2009
La Viola finally win away as De Silvestri makes debut – September 29, 2009
The beginning of the Jovetic era in Florence? – October 2, 2009
Two points lost and a wasted opportunity – October 6, 2009
Good news all round – October 9, 2009
International Week (Republic of Ireland-Italy, Italy-Cyprus)
Transfer rumours abound as Gilardino fires la Nazionale to South Africa – October 13, 2009
Gilardino shines again as la Viola eye the Bianconeri’s scalp – October 16, 2009
La Viola holds firm against Juventus – October 20, 2009
Crucial win over Debrecen, Manchester United prepare bid for Jovetić? – October 23, 2009
La Viola going through a rough patch – October 30, 2009
Marchionni brace completes Fiorentina rebound – November 3, 2009
Prandelli and co. march on against Debrecen – November 6, 2009
La Viola edge Udinese as Marchionni and Montolivo earn Azzurri recall – November 10, 2009
Vargas to stay as Prandelli praises Jovetic – November 20, 2009
Injuries taking their toll as Lyon clash looms – November 24, 2009
la Viola through to the round of 16 in Europe – November 28, 2009
La Viola’s resistance broken from the penalty spot – December 1, 2009
Must-win game to remain close to Champions League spots – December 4, 2009
Race for fourth continues as Fiorentina travel to Anfield – December 8, 2009
Historic win as Tifosi give warm reception – December 11, 2009
Precious points dropped as fatigue and injuries mount – December 15, 2009
Viola prepare for Milan’s arrival and Mutu’s departure – December 18, 2009
Snow postpones Milan clash – December 22, 2009
Calm holiday period despite transfer reports – December 29, 2009
Reinforcements wanted – January 5, 2010
Ideal start for 2010 as the Gigliati begin a push to climb the table – January 8, 2010
Mutu’s timely return to form – January 12, 2010
La Viola continue on the right track on and off the pitch – January 15, 2010
A step back but Bolatti set to join – January 19, 2010