Fiorentina are on the lookout for a new coach, but the Tuscans need a clearer vision of the future after the end of their story with Gennaro Gattuso, writes Giancarlo Rinaldi.
In the end he lasted no longer in Florence than a summertime student in the city to brush up their language skills. Rino Gattuso’s reign wasn’t measured in years or even months but just in days. He disappeared quicker than a prized bottle of Chianti when your thirstiest friends come to call.
In truth, he never even looked all that comfortable in those first pictures at the club. There was a look in his eyes – or maybe I imagined it – of someone posing only to make an elderly relative happy. There was an air of somebody who could not wait to get out of there as soon as the cameras were lowered. Now those images will be all we ever have of Ringhio’s time in Tuscany.
It’s a story which – from the outside looking in – doesn’t really reflect well on anybody. It appears a comedy of errors for the club, coach and anyone else involved from beginning to end. It feels like some kind of car crash celebrity marriage that we all knew was doomed to failure from the start. Did nobody think to discuss what they expected from the relationship beforehand?
If reports are to be believed, it was all a question of agents and acquisitions. Fiorentina appear to have baulked at the expensive expectations of their new coach and his agent Jorge Mendes. They were linked with a string of costly Portuguese signings – and associated commissions we presume – which fuelled much excitement among fans. But did the club get cold feet when they saw the full breakdown of the bill for this slap-up dinner? Or did their new boss only reveal the full price of his aspirations after he himself put pen to paper? Like a six-year-old sitting a maths examination, we may never know the answer.
What we do know is that the Viola have blown another summer opportunity to start to rebuild their reputation. Whoever comes in will have much less time to put their stamp on the transfer strategy and longer-term vision for the club. They have already missed more chances than poor Christian Kouamé.
That’s the heart of the issue, really. It only adds more credence to the view that Fiorentina don’t really know what they are doing. The chopping and changing of coaches, disappointing results and dodgy transfer arrivals all add to that impression. Their Serie A rivals can permit themselves a justified chuckle at the shambles which has ensued. It is a long and arduous journey back to credibility.
Some have applauded the move, however, as an admirable attempt to stand up to the power of the figure of the football agent. Few could deny that their influence is immense in the modern game and perhaps the Viola were brave not to be held hostage. It’s unlikely, however, that one club is going to change the sporting landscape alone.
Instead, you are left with the feeling of a club still struggling for a direction under its new ownership. Until they get everyone pulling in the same direction, their dreams of returning to the upper echelons of Italian football will remain more elusive than Franck Ribery in his finest form.
Losing Rino Gattuso may prove to be a blessing in disguise but only if it finally ushers in a clearer vision of what Fiorentina want and how they intend to get there. Otherwise, there could be many more embarrassing chapters of this story to come.