The Viola made a handful of moves in January that have significantly bolstered their roster in key areas.
Had this been a year ago, Fiorentina would have been receiving major recognition for their work done in January. Alas, the last 12 months have not been so kind to both Riccardo Saponara and Marco Sportiello. The Italian duo have failed to really make headlines, but a move to Florence offers a unique chance to revitalize their careers in more ways than one.
For the club, it’s almost a no-lose situation. Both players were signed for a combined €18 million if their buyout clauses are activated. A minimal investment for a cash-strapped club, with a coach who has been begging for reinforcements for the better part of the last 18 months.
Fiorentina’s goalkeeping situation has been a major cause for concern as Ciprian Tatarusanu’s performances have at times left a lot to be desired. Sportiello can be a big step up on his day, but there are questions surrounding as to why Etrit Berisha so easily brushed him aside at Atalanta, with Gian Piero Gasperini at the helm of La Dea.
Riccardo Saponara on the other hand gives a lot of hope of an even more attacking side. Borja Valero has been for the most part the only creative midfielder on the team, and the breakdown in play between the midfield and the forwards has been noticeable. But a team featuring Borja Valero, Nikola Kalinic, Federico Bernardeschi, Federico Chiesa and now Saponara is definitely something to look out for. The Viola now boast a world of potential – which was nothing new heading into January considering the young talent they had, but they took it a step further.
In addition to Saponara and Sportiello, the club signed two Italian teenagers from Bari who had been highly touted in the past.
Gaetano Castrovilli and Giuseppe Scalera have been sought after by some of Italy’s biggest clubs. Castrovilli, an attacking midfielder could mould very well into the squad with Saponara and Valero to look up to. For now, the promising duo have signed deals to remain in the Primavera or youth league. With Sousa’s options in defense a doubt, I wouldn’t put it beyond the realm of speculation to see Scalera make his senior debut before the season is over.
Four promising signings and the sale of Mauro Zarate, Fiorentina get a B+ for this mercato window. January was kind for the Viola, even on a tight budget.