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ACF Fiorentina, is an Italian professional football club based in Florence, Tuscany, Italy. The original team was founded by a merger in August 1926, while the actual club was refounded in August 2002 following bankruptcy. Fiorentina has played at the top level of Italian football for the majority of their existence; only four clubs have played in more Serie A seasons.
Fiorentina won two Italian Championships, in 1955–56 and again in 1968–69, as well as six Coppa Italia trophies and one Supercoppa Italiana. On the European stage, Fiorentina won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1960–61 and lost the final one year later. They finished runners-up in the 1956–57 European Cup, losing against Real Madrid, and also came close to winning the 1989–90 UEFA Cup, finishing as runners-up against Juventus after losing the first leg in Turin and drawing in the second one in Avellino.
Fiorentina is one of the fifteen European teams that played the finals in all three major continental competitions: the Champions League (1956–1957, the first Italian team to reach the final in the top continental competition), the UEFA Cup Winners (1960–1961 and 1961–1962) and the UEFA Cup (1989–1990).
Since 1931, the club has played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which currently has a capacity of 43,189. The stadium has used several names over the years and has undergone several renovations. Fiorentina is known widely by the nickname Viola, a reference to their distinctive purple colours. The likes of Gabriel Batistuta, Rui Costa, Giancarlo Antagnoni, and Roberto Baggio have worn the purple jersey with great distinction.
The reason I have chosen to manage this club is that I managed them once before in FM2020 and had an amazing experience. My team played progressive attacking football and not only won the Serie A in the 2019-20 season but repeated the feat in 2020-21 with a run to the Champions League Final where I was eventually beaten by Manchester City. I have always believed in researching and understanding the club before undertaking a save with them and my immersion combined with my success in the game made them the second team I follow. After a couple of off years, I have decided to go back to the beautiful city of Florence in FM2023.
My main goals for this save are:
First Team Squad
The First Team squad (excluding those loaned out) contains a nice mixture of experience, quality, and youth. It could be much better, however. I have disabled the first transfer window so as to realistically assess the squad during the first half of the season.
Goalkeepers - None of them is good enough to start but I'll make do.
Pietro Terracciano: An experienced head who offers a reliable presence between the sticks. He will start the season as our #1.
Pierluigi Gollini: A decent player who's been brought in on loan with the view to take over from Terracciano. But any loan with a future buy option should be for a player with the potential to grow. Gollini has none. If he wins the battle to be our #1, I'll consider shelling out the money to make his deal permanent. Fingers crossed.
Michele Cerefolini: A youth academy product present merely to comply with registration rules.
Defenders: A youthful if not quite a stacked defense.
Nikola Milenkovic: The Serbian is the best defender at the club and still has room to grow. He will be the rock around which the defense will rally around. The club pulled off a major coup by getting him tied down till 2027. He's on a pretty large salary of 5.56M Euros though.
Lucas Martinez Quarta: Just entering his prime years, the River Plate graduate is the best ball-playing CB at the club and will partner the Serbian at the heart of the defense. He's not quite as physically dominant as his partner so that is a weakness that can be exploited.
Igor Julio: The Brazilian is a versatile and well-rounded defender capable of playing as a left-back as well. He's quick and fairly strong and is a capable option to back up Milenkovic and Lucas.
Cristiano Biraghi: The Club Captain. The Inter Milan youth graduate has become a dependable figure in the past few seasons at Florence. His crossing and set-piece ability set him apart as a difference-maker in the offense. His stamina will be crucial in manning the left flank. AC Milan and Juventus are interested however and hopefully, his head isn't turned.
Aleksa Terzic: The Serbian left-back will be Biraghi's understudy going into the season. He enjoyed a fruitful loan at Empoli the season before and will be looked a solid rotation option.
Lorenzo Venuti: The Fiorentina youth graduate is one of the poorer players of the squad. He isn't good enough to start frequently but neither is bad enough to be sold quickly. He will be a good backup and fulfill the registration requirements until the club gets its hands on a suitable replacement/prospect.
Dodo: The first choice right back for the club, the flying Brazilian has been bought from Shakhtar for a relatively pricey 14 million. The 23-year-old will either be a long-term servant or be moved on for profit some years down the line.
Luca Ranieri: A youth academy graduate rounds out the defensive unit who is a natural left back but is capable of playing as a ball-playing CB. He is nowhere near physically imposing at the center so he will be the fourth choice CB and third choice LB.
Midfielders: A fairly bloated midfield where a few players will need moving on in the coming transfer windows.
Sofyan Amrabat: If his real-life performances in the World Cup is anything to go by, he's going to be the lynchpin of this Fiorentina midfield. His defense acumen, on-the-ball ability, work rate, and stamina add up to a very well-rounded midfielder capable of playing as the DM or as a CM.
Giacomo Bonaventura: The elder statesman of the team, the Serie A veteran is a creative presence in the midfield who will be tasked with playmaking duties and will make the Viola offense tick. His contract expires next season so a call will have to be made on whether to renew him or not.
Antonin Barak: The Czech international has been brought on loan from Hellas Verona and adds attacking firepower to the squad. He can play as part of a midfield three or as #10 or even as the striker if need be. His talents might get him a permanent deal if he is able to help dovetail with Bonaventura in the midfield to create chances for the forward line.
Rolando Mandragora: Torino sold the highly-rated talents of Mandragora to the Tuscan outfit due to financial troubles and Fiorentina will look to take full advantage of his talents in the midfield. The well-rounded midfielder can play as the pivot in a three-man midfield or as part of a pivot in a two-man midfield.
Gaetano Castrovilli: The Fiorentina faithful will be deprived of witnessing the genius of Castrovilli for several months due to damaged cruciate ligaments suffered the previous season. He will be sorely missed and the club hopes to have their star midfielder fit for the second half of the season. If Bonaventura is not renewed, Gaetano will take over the reins of the Fiorentina attack from next season.
Riccardo Saponara: The 30-year-old likely does not have a future at the club. He has never quite hit the heights expected of him due to a combination of injuries, inconsistency, and the redundancy of the pure #10 in the modern game. He will be given sufficient chances to prove me wrong. If not, he will be let go on a free.
Alfred Duncan: The Ghanian offers a strong box-to-box presence in the midfield which should help me switch things up in the middle. Can play as a defensive midfielder just as well.
Youssef Maleh: The Moroccan strikes me as mediocre but the coaches rate him as a 3-star player with room to grow. He is a serviceable backup and I'll give him some chances to potentially boost his transfer value for a sale in the foreseeable future.
Szymon Zurkowski: Big things were expected of the Polish midfielder a couple of years ago but he too seems like deadwood to be flogged off. He will be given chances against weaker opposition.
Marco Benassi: The former Torino captain was supposed to have become a nailed-on starter for Fiorentina but finds his development and prospects stalled. Deadwood to be flogged off. Will not be registered due to registration rules.
Alessandro Bianco: The star of the Fiorentina youth team a couple of years ago has turned out to be perfectly mediocre when put against top-level opposition. A cursory glance through his attributes and scout report tells me he is destined to be sold. He will however be registered to comply with the homegrown quota rules.
Forwards: A forward line capable of much destruction if harnessed correctly.
Luka Jovic: The Serbian who lit up the Bundesliga but bit off more than he could chew at Real Madrid has joined Fiorentina in a bid to save his career and hit the heights he previously did and replicate his countryman Vlahovic's impact at the club.
Arthur Cabral: The Brazilian striker who joined the club from Basel is a little more well-rounded than his Serbian competitor. However, the two of them are good enough to be nailed on starters and thus whoever will perform is likely to stay at the club next season while the other is sold. Should be an interesting battle for the lone striker spot.
Cristian Kouame: The Ivorian is classed as a striker but his real-life performances and the presence of Jovic and Cabral means that he will play on the flanks.
Nicolas Gonzalez: The Argentine forward is one of the leading lights of the club who invested 23 million euros to bring him to Florence. He adds place, flair, and creativity to the front line and will be crucial to any success we have. He will play from the right instead of his natural left and center so that he can cut in and create 2v1 situations with the help of my right back out wide.
Jonathan Ikone: The Frenchman was picked up on a relatively cheap but still significant investment of 14 million euros and will look to challenge Nicolas Gonzalez for the right-wing spot. His directness and pace will be important to exploit the three-man backlines in the Serie A.
Riccardo Sottil: The youth team graduate carries the burden of doing what Chiesa didn't i.e., staying at Florence and helping the club challenge for titles. He is fast and can play on either flank. But he is a Milan supporter and we may or may not need to sell him for some funds down the line.
The chosen setup is a 433 with a holding midfielder.
In goal shall be a sweeper keeper albeit with a defensive mindset to help us play the high line but keep things simple. Not every team has a Manuel Neuer or an Ederson Moraes.
The heart of the backline will consist of a ball-playing midfielder and central defender who will look to keep things simple. The center-backs shall be flanked by two wingbacks who will be tasked with bombing up and down the wings and providing the necessary width and support to the wingers.
The three in the midfield will be the hub of the team tasked with being not only the engines but also creating opportunities for the frontline. The holding midfielder will act both as a screen as well as a playmaker from deep to start attacks and keep the ball ticking. The two in front will be a combination of a playmaker and a box-to-box/central midfielder with PIs.
Coming to the frontline which will need to plunder goals aplenty and lead the press, proactive wide players will be tasked to both provide as well get to the end of chances. Spearheading the team shall be an advanced forward tasked to put the ball into the net or a deep-lying forward to create numerical mismatches as the case may be.