Just 18 months ago, Villarreal forward Giuseppe Rossi was one of the names at the very top of FC Barcelona's "wanted list," with a move in excess of €25 million spoken about in the media. Two serious knee injuries later, the forward has instead just moved to Fiorentina for around €10 million.
While it might not be the move he was hoping for when he was at his peak, it could turn out to be a transfer that helps both player and club progress to the next level.
During 2010-11 season, Rossi was the star in a free-flowing, attack-minded Villarreal team that ended the campaign in fourth place in La Liga—good enough for a Champions League qualifying berth.
Rossi himself ended the season with 18 league goals from 36 games, and he totalled 32 in all competitions. Whether he had the role as a slightly withdrawn second striker, linking up play and then quickly moving himself into good scoring positions, or played in the main forward's role, two things were constant: His timing of runs inside the penalty area was exemplary, and Rossi's finishing hit a real high.
That success made the following season all the more of a letdown. A ruptured cruciate ligament saw him play just nine times in the league last season, netting three times.
The first time the injury struck was in the October of 2011, and six months, later he suffered the same fate. This second injury means he has now been out of action for well over a year altogether, and he is not expected to return to fitness before March.
Fiorentina then might have taken a big gamble in paying an eight-figure sum to take him to play in Serie A, but if it pays off, then they will have found themselves a relative bargain.
La Viola are an upwardly-progressing team who have recruited heavily, including one of Rossi's former Villarreal teammates in Borja Valero.
Valero has amassed eight league assists so far this season, and during 2010-11 (when Rossi his his 32 goals), he claimed 12 in all competitions, several for Rossi himself.
Those two, along with other quality players such as Stevan Jovetic and Alberto Aquilani, give Fiorentina a hugely exciting playing squad to look forward to seeing toward the end of this season or the start of next.
And if Rossi can recover his full fitness, along with his best form, then Fiorentina will suddenly have a 25-goal-a-season man to spearhead their attack. Should that happen, don't expect rumours of another €30 million move to be too far behind.
Statistical data from TransferMarkt.co.uk