Club Focus – Fiorentina – la Viola eye Demichelis

Bayern Munich’s Martin Demichelis is being linked with a move to Fiorentina as the transfer rumour mill reaches boiling point before deadline day – now only a week away.

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Demichelis was left out of Bayern’s opening Bundesliga fixture against Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg, and the Argentine centre-half hinted afterwards that his future could lie away from the German champions, commenting: “I am not mad at the Coach (Louis Van Gaal), just disappointed because I don’t think I deserve this. A solution must be found by the end of the transfer window.”

Van Gaal is believed to have enough faith in his squad to allow Demichelis to depart, and reports suggest that la Viola Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic is very interested in bringing the player to the Stadio Artemi Franchi.

Demichelis was dubbed “the man in the mask” last season when he wore a protective mask in the latter stages of the Champions League after recovering from a broken jaw sustained on international duty. It would be a coup if Mihajlovic was able to bring him in as there are plenty of other admirers out there.

la Viola face strong competition from Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea. All three would offer European football this season, putting Fiorentina at a serious disadvantage, though Mihajlovic may be the only Coach who could more or less guarantee Demichelis first-team football.

Looking in the other direction, Arsenal are reported to be vying for the signature of Riccardo Montolivio. The midfielder has been the subject of transfer rumours all summer, not least because he was one of the few players to emerge from Italy’s shocking World Cup campaign with any credit. Arsene Wenger is a long-term admirer of Montolivio, and it is believed The Gunners are preparing a bid of around 18 million pounds.

Montolivio has been a consistent source of transfer speculation over the past few years but has remained loyal to the fans and helped Fiorentina achieve its quest for Champions League football in the season before last.

In fact, all of la Viola’s top players have been constantly linked with moves away from the Club since June, and Mihajlovic walked into a steaming hot pressure cooker straight away when he replaced Cesare Prandetti. Yet with the new season days away, none have departed. It is essential Mihajlovic keeps it that way, as losing the likes of Juan Manual Vargas, Sebastian Frey and Alberto Gilardino would significantly reduce the possibility of qualifying for Europe this season.

The Coach will do himself a massive favour if he can keep the current squad together. Once the reports of departures begin to ease, he will be one step ahead before a ball has even been kicked, and can then assess whether further additions are required.

Mario Bollati is one player definitely staying at the Club. The midfielder had looked set for a return to his native Argentina but discussions with River Plate broke down due to his wage demands. Bolatti struggled to break into the Fiorentina team last season and should expect to pick up his ‘crust’ from the bench again this time around unless his form improves.

Mihajlovic may have a lot to live up to replacing the Club’s longest-serving Coach but he is clearly hungry to add to his already impressive CV and certainly talking a good game. Despite la Viola’s 2-0 friendly defeat to Valencia last week, he commented: “I know we’re not far away from the league but I’m not worried, I’m calm. I always think positively, I don’t ever get down. You will see that we will be OK. We’ll always have something to improve, but Fiorentina will be a team capable of beating anyone.”

Such bold words after a pre-season loss shows that Mihajlovic has confidence in his squad and will expect it to ease through to the players, prompting them that their futures lie at the Stadio Artemi Franchi.

The Serb must now keep his squad focused and disciplined to make a strong start to the season and prolong the team’s quest for the higher reaches of Serie A. The loss of star striker Steven Jovetic to a long-term injury will have hurt la Viola but the confidence Mihajlovic oozes should bring about a resounding feel–good factor to the Stadio Artemi Franchi. Expect an air of genuine anticipation on the opening day against Napoli.

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