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Many memories will be jogged by the name of Giuseppe Rossi circling in the news that Fiorentina have signed the Italian striker from Villarreal for 10 million euros, a transfer that occurs 14 months after Rossi last appeared in a professional football match. After a slightly nomadic beginning to his career, he now pitches back up in Italy after stints in England, with Manchester United and Newcastle, a short spell with Parma, and five years in Spain.
Fiorentina will have to wait until March before they can use the services of Rossi who remains sidelined with anterior cruciate ligament damage, an injury which occurred twice between October 2011 and April 2012 and that has threatened to stall a largely promising profession as a prolific goal-scorer. Rossi hit 82 goals in his time with the Yellow Submarine, including a 32 goal haul in 2010-11 which provoked a reported bid in excess of £30 million from Spurs.
That is clear indication of how high Rossi’s stock was, his 9 goals from a 19 game loan spell with Parma in 2007 was also impressive, before his misfortune with injuries struck. A year on the sidelines has seen his value decline to the tune of £20 million and, whilst it remains to be seen what permanent effect his problematic knee will have, it is hard to contest Fiorentina have found themselves a bargain if the Italian-American resembles the player he was before the injuries hit.
Rossi is a full international for Italy, despite being born in America to Italian parents, and has 27 caps, captaining the Azzurri along the way and also winning the golden boot at the 2008 summer Olympics with four goals. This is a striker who has grown into an experienced professional and top class goalscorer by the age of 25, if La Viola can restore the striker to fitness and his free-scoring best when he returns in March, then it will be a superb piece of business for a fee which will reportedly total under £13 million.
There is no better inspiration for a comeback against the odds for Rossi to take than Florence, housing a team that survived the potentially disastrous consequence of relegation by a scrape after replacing the long-serving Cesare Prandelli with Sinisa Mihajlovic back in 2010. Vincenzo Montella took charge in the summer and renovated the squad, bringing in Alberto Aquilani, Luca Toni and Borja Valero to install a slick, fluid free-flowing style that has been immediately successful; at the winter break point of Serie A, Fiorentina lie fourth.
Toni, at the age of 35, can’t be expected to scale the heights of 20 goals a season that would be needed to make a successful claim for Champions League qualification. He has 6, while the talented Stevan Jovetic is top scorer with 8, but he is a predominantly a winger and creator leaving them with no reliable, long-term source of goals. Hence the call for Rossi, in the hope he can rediscover the form, and first, fitness, which saw him terrorise La Liga just 2 seasons ago.
La Viola have shown that fortunes can transform within a short space of time and Rossi will be hoping that the same will apply to him as he aims to repay the faith shown in him by a club who has spent money on a player with a wretched history of injuries and will be out for a further two months and possibly longer.
Rossi however, also has a bright history of finding the net and at the age of just 25, he can do it for a long while yet. The £10 million represents a bit of a gamble, but it’s a calculated gamble for Montella and his refreshing new era in the romantic town of Florence.
Now, he only has to sort that pesky knee….
Written by Adam Gray
Follow him on Twitter @AdamGray1250
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