La Viola’s victory in Hungary was an important one since it solidified the club’s position in the group while also providing further proof that the Gigliati are currently one of Italy’s on-form teams. Besides the positive result and the three precious points obtained away from Stadio Artemio Franchi, Fiorentina might have rediscovered its Romanian star Adrian Mutu.
The Romania forward was able to score twice for la Viola but his overall performance was exemplary as he looked dangerous almost every occasion he had the ball at his feet. Mutu has had a rough start to the season with much of the attention being on his legal debacle with former club Chelsea, which sacked him in 2004 following his use of drugs. Originally, the Romanian international was ordered to pay a huge sum of money, around €17m, as compensation to the London club. He appealed to the Swiss Federal Court, which put a hold on the fine and informed the Romanian player that he does not have to pay Chelsea until a final decision is made towards the end of the year. Mutu has also struggled with injuries and fitness, but against Hungarian side Debrecen he appeared to be in top shape. Mutu could have easily scored a hat-trick during that Champions League encounter. While Mutu’s performance is quite encouraging in itself, the outcome of the match has paved the way for la Viola to cement its chance to qualify for the knockout stages. If Fiorentina beats Debrecen in Florence, and Liverpool lose to Lyon in France during the next round of matches, then the club from Tuscany is all but guaranteed one of the two qualifying spots.
In the meantime, rumours linking rising star Stevan Jovetić with a move away from Florence continue to spread despite the Montenegrin’s own affirmation that he is happy and content to remain with the Tuscan club. The forward has been a revelation this season and was the main catalyst behind Fiorentina’s 2-0 triumph over Liverpool in the Champions League. Critics will in all likelihood look at that match as the decisive one if la Viola indeed qualify to the next stage. The hype surrounding the young prodigy and the reports that Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson has been following the player’s progress further fuelled the rumours of his possible departure next season. The latest report claims that Manchester United is willing to offer close to €28m to capture Jovetić for next season. While both the club and the player have denied the possibility of his transfer, a massive offer in this range will likely entice Fiorentina’s management to sell and use the funds to strengthen the squad and create greater depth. Jovetić has declared his intent to remain for the near future, yet sentiment is often overlooked when blinding offers are made and accepted so if such an offer is officially tabled then the forward will likely switch clubs.
The players of the Tuscan club must be careful not to let their guard down as this positive period punctuated with impressive results can easily dissipate if the team suffers from any damaging defeats. The presence of the assured and confident Coach Cesare Prandelli will certainly play to the advantage of the Gigliati as he continues to slightly tweak his team based on the requirements of each match and the opponent his club is taking on. While other tacticians might have started Jovetić and rested the struggling Mutu, Coach Prandelli chose to stick with the Romanian, who finally paid back his Coach’s faith with a brace. Prandelli seems to be carefully nurturing his young Montenegrin star and slowly monitoring his progress so as not to overwhelm and exhaust the emerging talent early in the season.
This weekend, Prandelli will likely start the two together, whilst resting Alberto Gilardino following a hectic two-week period for the Italy striker. Gilardino has recently featured twice for Italy, once as a substitute and another time as a starter, during an explosive spell which included a hat-trick for his country against Cyprus in the World Cup qualifiers. Gilardino even admitted to the club’s official website that he is worn-out following a grueling stretch of four games in ten days so it will not come as a surprise if Prandelli opts to play the on-fire striker in the second-half only if needed. Otherwise, it is likely that Jovetić and Mutu will lead the line against a dangerous Napoli this weekend. If all three forwards keep their current form, then Fiorentina will most likely ease past the Partenopei.
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