Welcome to the latest instalment of Florence And The Goal Machine. We are about to embark on season three in Florence and I am very excited to what lies ahead of us. After finishing 3rd in Serie A in our first season we finished 5th last season and reached the the final of the Coppa Italia only to be denied of our first piece of silverware by Roma after a penalty shootout. Last season we started like a train and by the end of January I really thought we were title contenders however we finished the season in abysmal form.
Napoli went on to lift the title last season meaning that Juventus our arch enemy had now gone two seasons without winning the title after Internazionale had won it in our first season. I learnt a lot about our squad during the last few months last season and decided it was time to take action and freshen the squad up and that is exactly what I have done.
Transfers Out 2020-2021
The biggest story in the transfer window was Federico Chiesa joining Internazionale for £50m. There is no doubting Chiesa’s talent but £50m can go a long way to strengthening our squad and once we started to receive bids for the young winger he expressed his desire to leave and I won’t stand in the way of any player who wants to leave the club.
Midfielder Jordan Veretout moved to Trabzonspor for £7.5m, I decided that I would take the opportunity to move him on with the emergence of Abdou Diakhate. Another big decision was made when Borussia Dortmund came calling for the services of defender Nikola Milenković, whilst the Serbians potential is very good I have been disappointed with some of the errors he makes that have cost us vital points so I held negotiations with the German club and a £35.5m fee was agreed.
Another defender Vitor Hugo joined Lazio for £3.5m that could rise to £4.5m, the Brazilian centre back had limited game time with us so I did the right thing and let him try and stake a place in Rome. Winger Valentin Eysseric joined Crotone on a free after I ran his contract down. The Fiorentina tifosi may find it strange that I let him go but I wanted a different dynamic out on the left and Rafik Zekhnini is that man.
A number of players left the club on loan including Forward Dušan Vlahović who will look to get some game time at Foggia. Bryan Dabo joined Cagliari for 16k a month with a view to a permanent move. Another moving out on loan with a view to a permanent move is Full Back Maximiliano Olivera who did a really good job for us deputising for Cristian Biraghi, the Uruguayan joins Wanderers again with the chance to join permanently. Simone Mazzocchi joined Siena on a season loan hoping to get some valuable game time under his belt.
Lorenzo Venuti joined Brescia on loan whilst Sebastian Cristoforo joined Huesca on a free transfer after failing to impress during my reign at the club.
Transfers In 2020-2021
The first player through the door was highly rated Serbian Forward Dejan Joveljic who joined us from Red Star for £2.3m. Joveljic will come straight in to the first team squad and start the next phase of his development. The young Serbian will be one of four Centre Forwards in the First Team picture this coming season along with Patrick Cutrone, Maximilliano Romero and Gabrielle Gori.
Youngster Andrea Granieri joined from Livorno for 200k. The young Winger will go straight in to our youth system to start his development. Next up was a double raid on Sassuolo and first over the line was Italian Full Back Claud Adjapong for an initial £10m rising to £12.5m, Adjapong will be my first choice with Kevin Diks rotating.
Our biggest transfer fee to date £33m was spent on Sassuolo’s Italian Midfielder Manuel Locattelli who I am a big admirer. I think Locattelli can be a big player in our system in the defensive midfield strata. I see Locattelli playing in a role (Half Back) for us similar to FC Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets.
I wanted to bring in to the club a couple of young Centre Backs and I was pleased to have got Alessandro Bastoni from Internazionale for £10.5m rising to £13m with future add ons. Joining Bastoni is Gianluca Mancini who joins us for £15m possibly rising to £20m from Atalanta. Mancini is no stranger to Florence after playing in our youth teams at the start of his career. I believe both Mancini and Bastoni can be our first choice in the centre of of our defence.
Well I thought I would freshen things up a bit and you can see that is exactly what I have done by bringing in 5 Italian players and 1 non Italian. I now feel like this is my team now. We are also close to sealing a deal for U.S Città di Palermo youngsters Cosimo Marco Da Graca and Ivan De Stefano who are both discussing personal terms. The Scillian club are producing some really good footballers and with a bit of luck these two will soon be in Florence.
We now go in to season three of my time in Florence with a young fresh feel to our club with the pressure on me to bring some silverware to the city. We have a young enthusiastic squad with a good Italian identity. The board are looking for us to qualify for the Europa League again with my own aim to qualify for the Champions League. First we have to shake off last seasons disappointing form in the latter stages and build a solid foundation that we can express ourselves from. I feel this is a big season for myself and the club and look forward to trying to take the club to the next level. We are starting to see our youth development mould the players of the future.
The comings and goings during the summer have knocked just under 300k per week off the wage bill which is a massive positive for the club. The club have also managed to clear any outstanding debt that they had so things are all pointing in the right direction.
I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas and managed to get some FM time in. Going forward with this blog I have a few posts under construction covering our tactics and youth development which I will release in the New Year along with the regular save game updates. I would like to thank all who follow my journey with Fiorentina and hope that you continue the journey with me heading in to the new year. FM19 and Fiorentina have given me a real sense of satisfaction and as got me back on track with the Football Manager series which I am loving every minute of.