Purple Purchases: Five Fiorentina Players the Premiership Might Like
It has been a topsy-turvy season for Serie A side Fiorentina with some great displays in Europe but more struggles on the domestic front.
Nonetheless, they have remained one of the most entertaining sides to watch in Italy and have a host of young and not-so-young talent in their squad.
They play attractive football and, unlike some sides in the peninsula, are prepared to give teenage talent its opportunity.
So far the Premiership has been reluctant to come and add to its enormous debts by doing a little shopping in Tuscany.
However, here are five names which could be top of the acquisitions list when those wealthy overseas owners start looking to splash the cash in the summer.
And it does not even include the impressive Riccardo Montolivo.
Khouma El Babacar
It is early, of course, to think of the young Senegalese star moving on but he is precisely the kind of player the Premiership has poached in the past.
He grabbed his first Serie A goal at the weekend with a strike against Genoa which showed strength, opportunism and coolness in front of goal. He had displayed similar composure in Naples a week ago to set up Stevan Jovetic’s strike late in the game.
Only 17 years old, he seems to be blessed with great class and maturity. In coach Cesare Prandelli, he has the perfect mentor to bring on his talents.
However, he already looks like a player with some of the attributes which could ensure success in England. His pace and athleticism, combined with excellent technique could make him a quality investment for some mega-rich foreign owner planning the long-term future of his club. If such a thing exists.
Lorenzo De Silvestri
The “galloping major” would be an intriguing gamble.
He has been unlucky with injuries in his short career so far which has meant he has never enjoyed a prolonged run in the Fiorentina side. However, the former Lazio starlet is undoubtedly a top notch performer.
Since coming to Florence he has tightened up the defensive side of his game while continuing to make his forward forays. Think of a younger Massimo Oddo, less prone to impulsive errors.
There is no doubt he needs to cut out some of his inconsistencies and get a solid run of games under his belt before even contemplating a move. Nonetheless, any team looking for a marauding right-back to turn defence into attack could do a lot worse than turn to the Italian Under-21 international.
France’s loss has been Fiorentina’s gain in the goalkeeping stakes.
Shunned by Raymond Domenech, the Viola netminder has put all his focus on his club fortunes and it has produced some wonderful results. He has consistently been one of the top goalkeepers in Serie A in recent seasons.
There has already reputedly been interest from Manchester United in securing his services, as back-up and successor to Edwin Van der Saar.
He has nothing to prove in the Stadio Artemio Franchi where he is already ensured legendary status. Over his time in Tuscany he has been worth about 12 points a season to his club at a very, very conservative estimate.
One way to get yourself a move to England is to help humble one of its top sides. Jojo did just that when he knocked out Liverpool in the Champions League this season.
He then served up another sumptuous display to push Bayern Munich to the brink of elimination later in the same competition.
A boy with outrageously sweet ball control and a speed of thought which is positively supersonic, he has put himself seriously in the shop window in Europe’s biggest competition.
There is still a consistency issue but he seems to have stepped up his game in that regard in recent weeks. He can dribble, shoot and play a telling pass–not bad for a boy still to reach his 21st birthday.
Juan Manuel Vargas
There are few more lethal left feet operating in the game at the moment than the one belonging to the ultra-aggressive Peruvian.
Whether operating at full-back or in a more advance role he has emerged as one of Fiorentina’s key players this season with a string of influential displays.
He hits a thunderous shot and is also able to deliver pinpoint crosses from seemingly impossible positions and angles. No wonder his strikers love to see his name on the team sheet.
His powerful physique and never-say-die attitude saw him linked with Real Madrid earlier this year. In truth, there are few major clubs around the world who would not be enhanced by securing his services.