Fiorentina 2016/17 Serie A season preview: Viola to push for top 3

Fiorentina started last season so well before veering off after the winter break, this year they'll look to have a consistent season and try make it back into the Champions League

Fiorentina 2016/17 Serie A season preview: Viola to push for top 3
Fiorentina 16/17 season preview | Photo: Cammy Anderson/VAVEL

Fiorentina ended the 15/16 campaign in 5th, therefore granting them a place in this seasons Europa League. La Viola finished no less than 16 points shy of third placed Roma. A stellar start saw Fiorentina in definite contention for Champions League qualification but the winter break killed the momentum they had built up in the first half of the season and they were never able to rekindle the form and slowly dropped down to 5th.

Objectives for this season

A push into the Champions League places will be the objective for the Florence outfit. They're more than capable and showed last season they're able to mix with the big boys and have an able enough squad to do so.

Testing start and finish to season 

Fiorentina get off to the worst possible start with a trip to Turin to face Champions Juventus. Their home campaign is kicked off the following week when Chievo come to town. The week after they face Genoa before welcoming last seasons bronze medalists and top 3 rivals Roma to the Stadio Artemi Franchi. A trip to Udinese and a home tie with Milan close out their opening six fixtures of the 16/17 Serie A campaign. Fiorentina are likely to fall at be first hurdle but will be able to pick themselves in weeks between before their next real test in Roma comes up, 9-12 points should be celebrated from their opening six.

Similarly to their opening six, they face two other potential top 3 rivals in their closing six. Starting with Inter, they then go to Sicily to face relegation tipped Palermo. Sassuolo and Lazio will both provide stern tests for the Viola, whom if they fail to make top 3 could be battling with for Europa league places. On the penultimate week they face Napoli before closing their season at home to promoted Pescara.

Fiorentina's don't have a major derby to look forward to this term, as they've been accustomed to for the past few years but there is the Derby Arno which they contest with Florence rivals Empoli. Match day 13 pits Empoli as the hosts and the return derby comes on match day 31.

Transfers

Ins: Davide Astori ( Cagliari - £3m ), Bartlomiej Dragowski ( Jagellonia Bialystok - £2.7m ), Kevin Diks ( Vitesse - £2.4m ), Ianis Hagi ( Vitorul - £1.7m ), Hernan Toledo ( Maldonado - loan ), Carlos Sanchez ( Aston Villa - loan )

The majority of Fiorentina's signings have been made undoubtedly wiyh the future in mind with the middle four all being under 21. Astori spent last term on loan with the club and earned a permanent move to the club for sure. Dragowski is perhaps the most exciting addition to the side.

Dragowski holds his new jersey | Photo: corrieredellosport.it
Dragowski holds his new jersey | Photo: corrieredellosport.it

Outs*: Marko Bakic ( Braga - £1.2m ), Jose Maria Basanta ( Monterrey - £850k ), Leonardo Capezzi ( Crotone - £680k ), Rafal Wolski ( Lechia Gdansk - £425k ), Facundo Roncaglia ( Celta Vigo - free transfer ), Manuel Pasqual ( Empoli - free transfer ), Cedric Gondo ( Asteras Tripolis - free transfer ), Axel Gullin ( released ).

*plus 12 loans and six expired loans including Cristian Tello and Jakub Blaszczykowski.

Despite the two expired loans mentioned, none of the other departures really impact Fiorentina all that much if at all. Manuel Pasqual's experience at the level will be missed but he his best years have been past him for a while now and he served the club well during his 11 year stay.

A largely unchanged squad

Fiorentina could take advantage of other sides bedding in early players early in the season as their side is unlikely to look much different than it did last year.

In goals, Ciprian Tatarusanu is likely to be the starter in the league whereas Dragowski will probably get cup and maybe even continental action or vice versa. Fiorentina are certainly gifted with two fine keepers who can deliver next year.

They spent the first and more succesful half of last season with three at the back and things only went pear-shaped went Sousa began to favour a formation with four at the back. They're well covered across the defence and are more than capable of alternating between the two but the former formation seems best fitted to them and their style of play. Astori's redemption will go a long way in repeating their tight defence of last season also.

Valero pulls the strings more than capably | Photo: gianlucadimarzio.com
Valero pulls the strings more than capably | Photo: gianlucadimarzio.com

Borja Valero is the standout in the viola midfield and will likely play another vital part in their success this term, Sanchez brings another solid player who can be dumped just infront of the success and allow the others to roam with protection. 

Up top, Fiorentina have firepower in abundance but short of dropping the entire midfield, they'll be unable to utilise them all and competition for a place in the starting eleven will be high. Nikola Kalinic is almost a shoe-in to start as is Federico Bernardeschi but Mario Gomez is back on Italian soil (for now anyway) after topping the Turkish League scoring charts while Khouma Babacar is always improving and Giuseppe Rossi has admitted to being ready to fight for his spot. 

Kalinic will be key

Kalinic's goals will be the difference next year| Photo: Thescore.com
Kalinic's goals will be the difference next year| Photo: Thescore.com

Nikola Kalinic topped the club scoring charts last term and will largely be relied on to deliver at minimum double figures. The 15/16 season summer signing netted 12 of Fiorentina's fourth best 60 goals over the course of the season and is likely to have a majority of them again this term.

Sousa remains in charge

Despite alleged fallouts in his brief tenure as boss Paulo Sousa remains in the dugout for this forthcoming season. The Portuguese impressed in his first year in charge and should he be able to work some of his magic, could see them take advantage of hurting duo Napoli and Roma whose title aspiration took huge dents with star players Gonzalo Higuain and Miralem Pjanic both heading for Juventus. Sousa has just one year left and will have to prove to be worthy of a new deal.

Will they meet objectives?

A solid start is definitely needed so they can stand themselves in good stead for the remainder of the season but with little investment in the team that finished fifth while others around them have added plenty, it's unlikely that they'll be able to improve on last season unless of course one or two big players come in.