16th August 2015
It has been a difficult summer for fans of 'la viola'. First they have witnessed former coach Vincenzo Montella leave the club after guiding it to three successive 4th place finishes in Serie A. Then there has been the long running Mohammed Salah saga, with the Egyptian eventually leaving for Roma. Given the spending of the other big clubs this year may be one of transition for the Tuscans.
New coach Paulo Sousa will be tasked with rejuvinating a squad which has lost the likes of Mohammed Salah, David Pizarro, Juan Vargas, Stefan Savic, Alberto Aquilani and Mario Gomez.
Mario Suarez has been brought in from Atletico Madrid, a player whose defensive midifeld positioning will be well appreciated by Borja Valero and Mati Fernandez.
After a disastrous spell with 4 separate knee surgeries required in the last 4 years, Giuseppe Rossi has declared that he is finally back. If his knee holds up, the diminutive Italian could effectively prove to be the most important 'signing' of the summer.
Fiorentina enjoyed some good results, beating Barcelona. The form of Khumar Babacar and Federico Bernadeschi will see them compete with Josip Ilicic for the second striker spot.
There is a core group of very good players at the club. Borja Valero, Gonzalo Rodriguez, Mati Fernandez and Joaquin reveled under the possession based (very Spanish-like) play of Vincenzo Montella. The trick may be for Paulo Sousa not to tinker too much with the system particularly now with the added steel of a genuine defensive midfielder in Mario Suarez. While other clubs have bought lots of players yet still testing systems, Fiorentina already have a style of play that they can continue implementing, with perhaps only slight restructuring.
Fiorentina have traditionally had problems in defence and concede a lot of space on the counter. The departure of Stefan Savic will hurt and Astori will need to rediscover his form from Cagliari.
KEY TACTICAL QUESTION
Will Paulo Sousa completely change the game-plan even though the squad at his disposal will clearly be more comfortable with a slower paced possession game?
PREDICTION: 7th (It's hard to see the viola matching their fantastic performances over the last 3 years.