La Viola’s international break has, so far, been marked by Stevan Jovetic’s statement that he is happy in Tuscany and the temporary suspension of Adrian Mutu’s fine. In recent weeks, culminating with his brace against Liverpool in the Champions League, Montenegrin Jovetic has grabbed headlines, and for good reason. The skilled forward is even being compared to legendary Italy and Gigliati forward Roberto Baggio, whose sale to Juventus sparked riots in Florence.
The rising star is said to have caught the eye of numerous scouts, with particular interest from England’s Manchester United and Chelsea, as well as Italian giants Juventus and Milan. The young prodigy has admitted that he is flattered by the increased interest in his services, especially with Sir Alex Ferguson’s reputed attention, but he confirmed that he is aiming to remain in Florence to emulate his idol, Gabriel Batistuta. The former Argentine international obtained cult status during his stint with la Viola after his impressive goal-scoring record propelled Fiorentina to Champions League football in the late 1990s. Jovetic claims that he wants to honour his current contract with la Viola and does not want to leave before it expires – giving him another five years to showcase his talents to the tifosi at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. Jovetic has already starred in a number of games this season and is proving his worth on the pitch, However Adrian Mutu continues to struggle to recapture his best form.
The Romania forward has suffered since the beginning of the campaign due to some niggling injuries but prominently as a consequence of his legal battle with English club Chelsea. Mutu was ordered by FIFA’s dispute committee to compensate Chelsea with £15.8m, sanction for his positive Cocaine test in 2004, which resulted in his suspension for seven months after being signed by the London club for £15 million in 2003. The Romanian international has been underperforming, with the inspirational performances of Jovetic helping highlight his pedestrian displays. Both Jovetic and Italy international Gilardino have compensated for his lack of goals by hitting the back of the net with regularity for their club, as the tifosi continue to wait for Mutu’s recovery. The suspension of the fine by a Swiss Federal Court will be a welcome relief, despite it being only a temporary order which ends in November of this year. Mutu will at least be able to concentrate further on his lack of form on the pitch. The latest rumours have claimed that the 30-year-old forward, who netted 13 goals in 19 matches last season, might be moving away from Florence come the January transfer window. Giovanni Becali, Mutu’s agent, did not deny the reports linking the player with a move away from Tuscany but he made sure to confirm that Mutu is content to remain tied to la Viola. In reality, Fiorentina and the player will benefit if Mutu leaves, since his legal debacle has been an unwelcome distraction causing the Romanian star to underperform. On the flip side, the situation has provided Jovetic with the perfect opportunity to display his array of talents and stamp his authority on the pitch. With Jovetic and Gilardino on the books, la Viola can afford to off-load the Romania international and replace him with a decent striker who is willing to compliment the two established forwards remaining in Florence.
Coach Cesare Prandelli continues to prove his worth as a motivator and a skilled tactician, so it would not come as a surprise if he opts to cash-in on Mutu to distance his club from the distracting saga and concentrate fully on the team’s results on the pitch. The shrewd Prandelli has already warned that la Viola will be playing a motivated Juventus following their loss to Palermo. The Coach praised the contribution of his players up to this point but refused to set a limit as to how far the Gigliati can go, claiming there is still room for improvement. He also heaped praise on his forwards, while rejecting the notion that he can field Gilardino, Mutu and Jovetic at the same time, perhaps in an acknowledgement that it would throw-off his strategies for the team. The charismatic Prandelli is certainly doing a fine job with the club from Tuscany and was hailed by former Milan Coach Alberto Zaccheroni, who declared that the Fiorentina Coach has done a fine job to motivate his players to play at the level they have. Zaccheroni went a step further and mentioned to il Corriere dello Sport that he believes the Gigliati can compete for the Scudetto.
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