The latest reports emanating from the Italian Press indicate forward Adrian Mutu has failed a drug test conducted on January 10. The news comes as a shock to the management and the tifosi but more importantly it serves as a massive blow to the Gigliati and their aspirations for the remainder of the season.
Mutu has been in prolific form since the resumption of Serie A following the winter break scoring on a regular basis while young sensation Stevan Jovetic is recovering from injury and Italy striker Alberto Gilardino has suffered a slight drop in form. The Romanian striker now risks a long-term ban given his track record and past conviction due to a cocaine case while playing for Chelsea in the English Premiership. Mutu was consequently banned and his contract with the London club was severed. To make matters even worse, Mutu is still struggling to overcome the issues pertaining to the legal wrangle with The Blues. This situation puts Coach Cesare Prandelli in a bind as he has been seeking another striker but was told by the Gigliati management the funds are limited. The two names most prominently mentioned were Tommaso Rocchi of Lazio and Serie B side Brescia’s Andrea Caracciolo.
With Manchester City rumoured to be interested in Mutu’s services, la Viola quickly moved to dismiss these reports requesting the player’s agent remain professional and only release statements through the proper channels. However, the problem now becomes that the player will perhaps no longer be a desired commodity. CONI (which acts as the Italian anti-doping tool and represents the Italian Olympic Committee) confirmed Mutu’s failed drug test following the clash with Bari, stating traces of Sibutramine (used to suppress appetite) were found. If the test results stand then Mutu is likely to get a substantial ban ranging from one to four years which could effectively end the attacker’s career.
Fiorentina officials have not released a statement regarding the Mutu case which comes during a tough spell for a Tuscan outfit beset by injuries and poor form. The Gigliati are seven points behind fourth place Napoli and have dropped precious points at the Stadio Artemio Franchi this season. This weekend Prandelli will lead his team against Cagliari in a clash worth much more than the three points. Defeat to the Isolani would create a four point gap and would severely damage the possibility of bringing European football (even the Europa League) to Florence next season. Missing out on European football will have serious repercussions for the club including a substantial drop in revenue, the likelihood of missing out on signing new players and even losing some of the current crop of players. Emerging youngster Jovetic will likely depart given the interest shown by a number of elite European sides in obtaining his signature while wing-back Juan Manuel Vargas is a desired commodity with Spanish giants Real Madrid keeping a close eye on the Peruvian. Vargas is versatile and can play anywhere on the left side from defence to midfield to left wing.
The European adventure has certainly taken its toll on the side which does not have the squad depth enjoyed by the likes of Inter and Juventus. A sustained European campaign will have unwelcome consequences such as fixture pileup, exhausted players, and muscular fatigue and less time to regroup all of which increase the possibility of suffering from injuries. This season the club has seen a plethora of players miss time due to injury. Alessandro Gamberini, Marco Marchionni, Jovetic and Mutu have all been sidelined with injury at one point or another while even the goalkeeper Sebastien Frey has not escape the injury curse.
The unenviable task on hand falls upon the charismatic Coach Prandelli who will have to summon all of his managerial skills and tactical knowledge in order to revive the fortunes of the club and make a late run to grab a top four finish in the league standings which by itself will be considered a success. Prior to the winter break the odds were not completely stacked against la Viola overcoming Bayern Munich in Europe but the two sides are now going through a completely different phase with the Bavarians emerging as a real force in the Bundesliga and la Viola in the midst of an inconsistent run which could ruin all of the season’s hard work. Recently Prandelli insisted he is not thinking about the Azzurri but if the Gigliati fail to qualify to the Champions League then who can guarantee the Coach will not take over la Nazionale?
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
La Viola march on in Coppa Italia as Mutu strikes twice – January 22, 2010
Serie A inconsistency continues as Palermo are victorious in Sicily – January 26, 2010
Adrian Mutu in trouble once again? – January 22, 2010