The Three Positions Fiorentina Must Address This Summer

Few were the Fiorentina supporters who mourned the departure of former club owners the Della Valle Brothers last summer, as Andrea and Diego finally sold Tuscany’s biggest football club to the Italian-American billionaire Rocco Commisso just before last summer’s transfer market.

The change in ownership injected some much-needed cash and enthusiasm as the new president quickly became a fan favorite around Florence by vowing to lift the club’s status and build a squad that can qualify for European competitions. 

The arrival of Bayern Munich legend Frank Ribery among several other players helped in constructing a team that assembles exciting youngsters alongside experienced veterans. 

In the 2019 transfer market session, Frank Ribéry signed with the Italian side Fiorentina on a free transfer
In August 2019, Ribéry signed with the Italian side Fiorentina on a free transfer

But things weren’t going to be so simple for new president Commisso, as, after a decent start to the 2019-20 season, a slump during the middle of the campaign spelled the end of coach Vincenzo Montella’s second tenure at the club. 

While the appointment of new coach Giuseppe Iachini helped the team in ending the season in a relatively decent position (10th place with 49 points), it shouldn’t be enough to hide the issues that sporting director Daniele Pradé should be working to solve during the current calciomercato

So here are the main three positions that Fiorentina should upgrade in the upcoming transfer market window:


  • The status quo:

Fiorentina, similar to any other side that inspires to play the 3-5-2 formation must possess a host of capable central defenders. 

Captain German Pezzella has proudly held the club banner since the tragic passing of former captain Davide Astori in March 2018 and has been ever-present in the starting XI. Another notable presence in the purple defenses is 22-year old Serbian giant Nikola Milenkovic who the club will try to maintain for another season despite the well-documented interest from several Italian and European clubs. 

Milenković made his debut for Fiorentina in 1–0 away victory over Cagliari on 22 December 2017.

On the other hand, the rest of the Viola‘s defensive department doesn’t inspire too much confidence. Igor Julio finished the season as a starter but the young Brazilian is still considered a one for the future rather than a finished article. Martin Caceres brought all of his experience with him to the club but his age and injury record suggests that the Uruguayan veteran can’t be relied upon for an entire season. Meanwhile, Federico Ceccherini might be a decent player but he falls just short on the high requirements needed to build a European aspiring defense. 

Thus a new Center Back would definitely be a welcome sight at the Artemio Franchi Stadium next season. 

  • The suggestions:

PSG captain Thiago Silva has been linked with numerous European sides including Fiorentina as well Lazio, Chelsea, and his former club Milan. But if the Brazilian decides to part ways with the French champions in this transfer market window then one must expect some other club to offer him higher wages than Fiorentina. 

A more suitable option could be Bayern Munich’s Javi Martinez, as it is reported that his former teammate Ribery is working on convincing the Spaniard to reunite with him in Italy. Originally a defensive midfielder, former Bayern boss Josep Guardiola successfully turned into a ball-playing center-back. While a regista (defensive midfielder) role could be on the cards for Javi, using him as a sweeper in defense could be ideal for the veteran at this point in his career, combining his strength and experience as well as his ability to play the ball from the back. 

Last but not least, Torino’s Armando Izzo has been another name mentioned to be on Pradé’s radar. Blessed with physical strength and a strong character as well as a remarkable tackling ability, the 28-year old former Genoa player must seek a career step-up move while he’s about to reach his peak, and would be the perfect candidate to complete the defensive department of Commisso’s ambitious Fiorentina.

Armando Izzo made his debut with Torino during a 4–0 win against Cosenza in the Coppa Italia

Versatile Wing-back

  •  The status quo:

During the 2019-20 season, coaches Montella and Iachini relied almost exclusively on two wing-backs. Former Sassuolo man Pol Lirola on the right flank, and Inter loanee Dalbert on the left.

Even if Fiorentina manage to secure the Brazilian left wing-back on a permanent basis, this department is still in need of one or two quality players who can provide some healthy competition on both flanks as well as the ability to rotate in these two positions, since other options like Lorenzo Venuti, Kevin Diks, and Aleksa Terzic all failed to make a significant push for a starting spot. 

  • The suggestions:

Two Italian internationals are thought to be on Pradé’s wishlist to strengthen this department. The first is Roma captain turned Roma castaway Alessandro Florenzi who is currently being forced by coach Paulo Fonseca to search for a new adventure away from his beloved city and club. The second name on the list is Chelsea wantaway Davide Zappacosta who also had an unfortunate season at Roma while on-loan from the London-based club. 

As we mentioned above, Fiorentina would do well to sign two wing-backs in this transfer market, thus securing the two Azzurri players would be the ideal case. But due to financial limits and the need to spend on other departments as well, the club will probably be resigned to buy just one of the two. 

While both Florenzi and Zappacosta are originally deployed on the right flank, they also proved during their respective careers to be highly versatile when it comes to covering different positions, especially when being switched to the left flank. 

Signing Zappacosta would be a decent piece of business for Fiorentina, but on the other hand, Alessandro Florenzi‘s pace, skills, experience, hunger, and above all determined to prove his doubters wrong would make his move to Fiorentina a perfect marriage for both sides. 

On 30 January 2020, Alessandro Florenzi was loaned to Valencia until 30 June 2020


  • The status quo:

While the offensive lineup of Fiorentina is no-doubt blessed with a host of talented players, it does feel that there’s still a certain gap to be filled in the upcoming transfer market session. 

Current coach Giuseppe Iachini has mainly kept Montella’s 3-5-2 formation, switching his natural wingers (Mostly Frank Ribery and Federico Chiesa) into more central positions. 

While the Frenchman can still play a vital part at the club from the next few seasons, if (or when) Chiesa decides to leave The Tuscan side will receive enough cash that enables them to sign a decent replacement for the young Italian, and the likes of Rachid Ghezzal and Ricardo Sottil could become mainstays at the club’s flanks in the future. 

The main issue in this department, as proven by last season’s results, is the center-forward role, with different players unable to cement a regular starting position throughout the season. 

23-year old Brazilian Pedro has been a total failure in Florence and has barely featured in the side.

Exciting Serbian Dusan Vlahovic had a much better debut season and is a one to maintain for the future, but at just 20 years of age, Pradé is looking to loan him out in order to gain some experience with Hellas Verona being particularly interested. 

The arrival of former Milan striker Patrick Cutrone in the January transfer market added some energy and depth to the offensive line but the young man still hasn’t convinced everyone at Fiorentina of being capable of becoming a real top striker.

Patrick Cutrone, who joined in the January transfer market session, and Christian Kouame still have to prove themselves at Fiorentina
Patrick Cutrone and Christian Kouame still have to prove themselves at Fiorentina

Also, the signing of Christian Kouame from Genoa is a brilliant piece of business by the club, but the Ivorian’s best position could be as a supporting striker, the way he was displayed next to Krzysztof Piatek at his former club. 

  • Our Suggestions:

Real Madrid youth product Borja Mayoral has been mentioned as a possible target for La Viola. But signing another young and still unproven striker is the last thing they need at this point. 

Former Genoa and Milan hitman Piatek is reportedly trying to escape his Hertha Berlin stint. Although a reunion with former partner in crime Kouame could be a good prospect for both players, the Polish has failed to regularly score last season at both Milan and Berlin which makes him a risky bet at this point. 

It is clear that what Fiorentina lacks right now in attack is an accomplished poacher who will guarantee goals no matter the circumstances.

Two veterans have been specifically linked with the club recently, former Palermo and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani who is currently a free agent after leaving PSG, and former Juventus fan-favorite Mario Mandzukic who is eager to return to Europe. 

While the Uruguayan legend would no doubt be a huge addition to Fiorentina, The Croatian hitman might just be the perfect classic center-forward who will make the most of the team’s crosses from the wings due to his size and strength as well getting his teammates into play. And thankfully for Mario Mandzukic, his good physical condition could still allow him to participate in most matches during the season.

Following the contract termination, several clubs showed interest in signing Mario Mandžukić