Fiorentina finding their feet again
(Getty Images/Alessandro Sabattini)

La Viola have a new owner, a returning manager and their star player seemingly unsettled, as the new season approaches, but the last week has given their fans more optimism.

At lunch time on the 6th June Reggio-Calabria born American businessman, Rocco Commisso officially completed his takeover of Fiorentina and the tide could be turning at the Tuscan club. For the long suffering fans of the famous team in purple, it has been a rough few years, as they have seen their beloved club slip further and further away from the upper echelons of Calcio.

Things reached almost rock bottom when they entered the final day of last season not assured of their Serie A place. Eventually, a nervy scoreless draw with fellow relegation candidates Genoa secured their Serie A status for another campaign to the relief of the tifosi.

Signs of early promise

More good news came with the arrival of Commisso and so far he has said and done all the "right" things. He took over from the Della Valle family who had been in charge of the club since 2002. The family who are involved in the shoe business saved the club from bankruptcy, brought a number of top young talents to the Artemio Franchi and helped the club qualify for the Champions League, all in the space of just seven seasons.

Now they will be hoping that the 69-year old takes them to the "promised land" or at least gets them close.

He certainly got a welcome fitting of a "saviour", as 10,000 plus fans turned out for his presentation. He was brought to tears by the overwhelming show of support and said; "I was not expecting to be received like this, in New York, nobody knows me, here, everyone recognises me."

He got just a taste of the passion of the Fiorentina fans, one can only imagine what will happen if they qualify for the Champions League or win the Scudetto, under his stewardship . Maybe jumping into the fountain like compatriot at Roma, James Pallotta

The nitty gritty of it all is the fact remains that La Viola have a long way to go to re-capture their former status as one of "Le Sette Sorelle."

For starters, Vincenzo Montella was confirmed as the manager for next season, after having returned in April. The former striker led the club to three consecutive fourth place finishes, previously, an incredible feat. However, his stock has fallen a bit lately, after being hired and fired at Milan and Sevilla, although not all his own doing off-course.

The playing squad while being better than a 16th place team, needs vast improvements in all areas of the pitch.

The question is how much is the new owner willing to spend on the team? Commisso said "I like to underpromise and overdeliver", while adding, he "will invest more than just money at the club." The biggest question mark remains the future of Italian starlet Federico Chiesa. The 21-year old has been rumoured to have a "verbal agreement" with Juventus  and it is reported, that he has told the new owners as such.

La Viola fans, have a dislike, to put it mildly for La Vecchia Signora. For decades going back to the controversial Serie A title tilt in 1981 with the Piedmont club, to the double blow of 1990, of losing the UEFA Cup final and seeing their hero Roberto Baggio sold to Juve. Commisso has stated categorically that "Chiesa will not be my Baggio."

Again, he has said "the right thing", but in this modern age of player power, he may need all his business negotiating skills to keep the right winger.The new owner knows he has to send a strong message and keeping Chiesa will do just that.

Transfer business picking up speed

The summer transfer window at the Tuscans started off slowly, but it has picked up expeditiously in the last week. The only major signing until recently was that of Serbian left back, Aleksa Terzic from Red Star Belgrade. It was followed however, by the loss of some significant pieces from the team from last campaign.

Goalkeeper Alban Lafont and midfielder, Jordan Veretout have left on loan to Nantes and Roma respectively, while others such as captain German Pezzella, Christian Biraghi and Giovanni Simeone have all been rumoured to be the subject of interest from clubs around Europe.

On a plus Polish shot-stopper Bartlomiej Drawgoski has returned after a successful stint at Empoli and showed enough at La Viola's regional rivals to suggest that he will be a safe pair of hands in goal.

This past week has, however, saw a bright light shine on the already lovely purple colours of the club. They have completed a triple swoop of right back Pol Lirola, forward Kevin Prince-Boeteng and fan favourite Milan Badelj has returned after just one season with Lazio. All three players can and should make the team better and with still 28 days to go in the Serie A summer window, who knows who the 1961 Cup Winners Cup champions can still acquire.

This season is expected to be one of consolidation for Fiorentina and raising expectations may lead to disappointment. However, with the new owner, who is also the CEO of one of the largest cable companies in the United States, the fans can at least look forward to an entertaining and edge of the seat future.

Fiorentina fans have seen it all and have been accustomed to loving their team no matter, but the future could just see them smile that bit wider. 

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