Fiorentina Club Focus: Strike Action
Fiorentina continued their pursuit of a European place with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Genoa during the latest round of Serie A fixtures, but it is becoming increasingly unclear just who will be leading the line for the Viola next season.
Speculation continues to mount over the future of star forward Stevan Jovetic, with stories circulating in the English press this week that Arsenal have their crosshairs firmly set on the Montenegrin international.
On Monday, it was reported by The Metro that the Gunners are preparing to table a €25 million bid for Jovetic’s services during the summer. With Arsenal chairman Peter Hill-Wood recently announcing that the club has plenty of cash in reserve, such an audacious move is certainly plausible.
However, given Arsenal’s reticence to splash the cash in recent seasons, such speculation must obviously be taken with a pinch of salt, and while Jovetic’s continued presence in Florence next season almost certainly hinges on the Viola securing a Champion’s League berth, Arsenal’s own struggles to qualify for that particular competition could yet prove a stumbling block.
The threat of Jovetic turning out for bitter rivals Juventus next season is one that seldom disappears these days, with the player’s agent Fali Ramadani again refusing to quell rumours earlier this week.
Though the sight of Jovetic donning the black and white of the Old Lady would be anathema for the Viola support, a new hero may have already arrived in the form of Giuseppe Rossi, who finally arrived in Florence this week after signing from Villarreal in January.
The Azzurri international has suffered an injury plagued 18 months since becoming one of European football’s hottest properties, and though his signing undoubtedly represents a gamble, the 26-year-old clearly has the ability to become a club legend if he can stay fit.
Speaking with Sky Sport Italia, Rossi’s agent Andrea Pastorello said: “Giuseppe’s mood has remained high, even during his long period out through injury. We have finally arrived and he wants to be able to do his best on the field.”
Of the players currently at the club, it remains to be seen who might partner Rossi up front during the next campaign. Luca Toni’s performances and goal return this season have defied all expectation, but with age catching up on the World Cup winner, opportunities are likely to become increasingly limited.
Mounir El Hamdaoui meanwhile has failed to secure a regular starting place since joining from Ajax in the summer, but Adem Ljajic has shown glimpses in recent weeks that he may yet deliver on his undoubted promise.
However, an overreliance on goals from midfield during the previous two campaigns means that further additions up front will be essential during the summer, particularly if Jovetic departs. Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa has reportedly been linked with a move to the Artemio Franchi on the back of an impressive 14 goals in 32 league and cup appearances this season.
Meanwhile, Chievo’s Cyril Thereau has talked up his own chances of a move to the Artemio Franchi following another fine campaign for the Flying Donkeys, while Werder Bremen’s former Inter forward Marko Arnautovic is another forward reportedly attracting the Viola’s attentions.
Closer to home, Swiss striker Haris Seferovic has been in outstanding form for Serie B side Novara since being sent out on loan during the January transfer window, with five goals and three assists from just eight games, while Acosty Boadu-Maxwell has also impressed during a season long loan with Juve Stabia.
In an ideal world, Viola fans might yet get to enjoy the sight of Jovetic once again running the defences of the European elite ragged in the Champions League, but in the increasingly likely event that he is plying his trade elsewhere next season, sporting director Daniele Prade surely faces a busy summer attempting to replace him.
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