Fiorentina’s Gilardino conundrum

Fiorentina are a club who are torn between economic stability and success on the field. This summer was always going to prove testing as a poor campaign last year has left many of their fans questioning their ambition. Key to this is the future of their star players and none more so than striker Alberto Gilardino.
Fiorentina’s patron Andrea Della Valle has led Viola fans to believe that the club’s wage bill is too high and players will have to leave this summer and be replaced by younger talent. This predicted mass exodus of the star players however, has not gone as many expected. Sebastien Frey did leave for Genoa and Adrian Mutu also departed for Cesena. This saw the wage bill slashed, especially as ten other players including Gaetano D’Agostino and Marco Donadel departed, however, they have still clung onto their main stars this gives hope for the new season.
A deadline of Friday has been set for bids regarding want-away midfielder Riccardo Montolivo, whilst Stevan Jovetic has told Sky Sport Italia “I’m really happy in Florence. My agent has talked to the club and negotiations will continue.” The situation regarding Alberto Gilardino however, is remarkably different. He has not expressed any desire to leave the Stadio Armetio Franchi but this has not stopped many teams from around Europe showing interest.
It is no surprise that the 29-year-old is hot property as his time at the Viola has been extremely productive to say the least. Scouts from Marseille, Wolfsburg, Villarreal and a host of Italian clubs will all have noticed the fact that he is a fusion of pace, strength and has an eye for goal. His talent was evident from his time with Parma when he managed to score an impressive 50 goals in 96 appearances, this earnt him a move to Milan where he managed a less impressive but still respectable 36 goals in 96 games. His move to Florence for €15 million Euros has really allowed him to flourish as he developed good partnerships with first Adrian Mutu and then Stevan Jovetic. In his first season he scored an incredible 19 goals for his new team followed by 15 the season afterwards. Even in Fiorentina’s injury ravaged 2010-11 campaign he still managed to net 11 times. This total of 46 goals in 105 games equals an average of 15 a season.
This is feat has not gone unnoticed by many clubs in Europe, with Genoa showing particular interest. Players including ex-team mate Frey and ex-defender Claudio Onofri are willing him to make the move. Onofri said “He’d be the cherry on the cake for a side who could have a very satisfying campaign.” Whilst Frey added “Alberto is a friend, I love him and if he asks me about Genoa then I would tell him they are the right solution. If he can choose Genoa then he wouldn’t be making a mistake. However, it doesn’t depend on me, the club makes the decisions.”
This is a nervous time for Fiorentina fans as they are aware that the books need to be balanced but at what cost? Gilardino can offer 15 goals a season so is he not worth saving? Even more so perhaps than Montolivo or Jovetic?

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