Fiorentina Farewells: Who is Heading for a Viola Exit?
Sometimes it is okay to admit you don't know how you feel.
No doubt Chelsea, Inter, Barcelona, and Bayern Munich fans are elated at the moment. While followers of Hull City, Atalanta, and the likes are almost certainly feeling down in the dumps. But for Fiorentina supporters, maybe it is alright to have mixed emotions.
A look at the final Serie A table brings only misery. There were more defeats than victories this year, which was a big step backwards from recent top four performances. The Coppa Italia, too, failed to provide any consolation.
And yet, the memories of the Champions League still provide a little glow.
There were some of the greatest nights ever at the Stadio Artemio Franchi and further afield. On top form, this team was capable of standing toe-to-toe with the best in Europe, producing some sparkling football and getting results.
If it hadn't been for a ridiculous offside goal against Bayern, who knows what might have been?
That thought, however, can only console the club for so long and a dismal conclusion to the league has raised more pressing concerns. Who will be leaving the club in the summer and what new arrivals might land in Florence? The side seems to be at a key stage in its evolution.
Fiorentina will never be able to compete financially with the European giants. They will always have to hope to catch young talent on its way up or try to revive stars who have started to fade. And, unfortunately, they will always see some heroes leave every summer.
Top of everyone's shopping list seems to be Juan Manuel Vargas. His thrilling displays in the Champions League caught everyone's eye, Real Madrid in particular.
If the price is right, he will go.
Coach Cesare Prandelli is also at the heart of the rumor mill. It seems the Italy job is most likely, with Juventus still a possibility. For the best interests of the club, a decision needs to be made soon on that front.
Stevan Jovetic, too, and Sebastien Frey, have had their suitors. In an ideal world it would be best to cling on to the young Montenegrin for at least another season. But are the Viola in a position to do so? And should they try to cash in on their goalkeeper before his powers fade?
Everyone at the club protests that this is not the end of an era but it is hard to escape the feeling that it is. Something snapped inside Fiorentina after their Champions League and Coppa Italia eliminations and it will be hard to repair. The squad is still strong, but somewhere the winning attitude went west.
It might need a few changes to bring that back again. There is still the core of a good team there but it will need some work if a top four finish is to seem anything other than a distant memory.
However, there might be hope from the fact that the Viola finished out of Europe altogether. They will be able to focus their attention on Serie A without the distraction of so many midweek games. It might just get them back on track.
It is a time of transition in Florence, of that there is little doubt. A clearer picture of the future is likely to emerge in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, all supporters can do is watch and wait to see what new Fiorentina emerges.
Hopefully, it will be the one which thrilled everyone in the Champions League and not its pale imitation from Serie A.
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