It’s been a pretty tumultuous season for Fiorentina. They came into the 2020/21 campaign hoping to perhaps push for those Europa League spots, maybe grab a place in the new European Conference League, or at the very least cement themselves as a top-half team.
As the season progressed, they found themselves with a very real chance of being relegated to Serie B. Some key players failed to perform anywhere near the level they are capable of, and inconsistent performances blighted any potential progress. In the end, La Viola managed to achieve a 14th placed finish.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON: DUSAN VLAHOVIC
The shining light of Fiorentina’s season has never been easier to identify. Dusan Vlahovic has turned himself from an exciting prospect into a transfer target for some of the world’s best football clubs.
The 21-year-old Serbian ended the season with an astonishing 21 goals from 37 league appearances. Not only has his volume of goals been impressive, but the variety has also caught people’s attention.
As well as the instinctive poacher’s finishes inside the box, Vlahovic has proven himself to be an adept header of the ball and a reliable penalty taker.
It’s very possible that Vlahovic will be on the move this summer, with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United reportedly interested in his services. Should he move on from Florence, he’ll fetch the club a huge return on the €1.95 million investment they made in July 2018.
BEST SIGNING: GIACOMO BONAVENTURA
It’s not easy to pick a standout signing for Fiorentina from the 2020/21 season because Vlahovic has been the only real positive. Many players who could be construed as new actually returned from loan spells elsewhere for this campaign, such as Cristiano Biraghi.
The award is going to Giacomo Bonaventura though, predominantly because he arrived on a free. The former Atalanta and AC Milan midfielder has had a steady if unspectacular season for La Viola, but it’s not like he’s had many creative players around him turning in high-quality performances.
Bonaventura has notched three goals and three assists in the league which is a respectable return, and it’s likely that his experience has helped young players like Vlahovic and Gaetano Castrovilli during the tough moments of the season.
THE COACHES: GIUSEPPE IACHINI (TWICE), CESARE PRANDELLI
For a team that finishes 14th and looks in danger of relegation, it’s not unusual to end the season with a different manager to the one you started with.
It is unusual to start with one, get a new one, and then end the season with the one you originally started with. After just two wins from the first seven games of the season, Iachini was sacked in November 2020.
They replaced him with Cesare Prandelli, who had previously managed the club between 2005 and 2010. The results in Florence didn’t improve much at all under Prandelli and in March 2021, he took the very brave decision to step away from the club, stating that: “I have been going through a period of profound distress which is preventing me from being who I really am.”
He went on to say: “Over the past few months, a dark cloud has developed inside of me, changing the way I see things.” Prandelli’s resignation prompted a much-needed discourse on the effects that the relentless football calendar can have on the mental health of those within the sport.
With just two months of the season to go, the club reappointed Iachini and he managed to secure their Serie A status. The club will be appointing a new coach for the 2021/22 campaign.
Fiorentina’s most memorable moment of the season has to be their hugely surprising 3-0 win over Juventus at the Allianz Arena.
It means a hell of a lot to Fiorentina fans if they can grab a win over the Bianconeri, so despite the way their season panned out they will look back fondly on this game. Former Fiorentina man Juan Cuadrado saw red when the score was 1-0, and from there La Viola sensed an opportunity to embarrass their arch-rivals.
Dusan Vlahovic scored one of his best goals of the season to open the scoring after three minutes as he ran through on the goal and lofted the ball excellently over Wojciech Szczesny.
The thing that let Fiorentina down this season was their inconsistency. The squad is certainly talented with players like Vlahovic, Castrovilli, Franck Ribery, Nikola Milenkovic, and Erick Pulgar. This meant that at times they were able to put in some exciting performances and there is promise for the future.
That being said, Fiorentina failed to win back-to-back Serie A games at any point this season. That meant they could never build enough confidence to really climb into the top half of the table.