Dusan Vlahovic has been labelled a "coward" by Fiorentina ultras for joining fierce rivals Juventus.

The Serbia international completed a €70million switch between the Serie A sides on Friday, the day he turned 22.

Vlahovic had previously turned down the offer of a new contract with Fiorentina, forcing the club's hand somewhat as he had just 18 months to run on his existing deal.

After reportedly rejecting proposals from Premier League sides Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle United among others, Vlahovic instead opted for fellow Italian club Juventus.

Having also lost Federico Bernardeschi and Federico Chiesa to Juve in recent years, Vlahovic's choice of club did not go down well with Fiorentina's devoted supporters.

The Partizan Belgrade academy product's home is reported to have been under surveillance in the days leading up to the transfer, while some fans took to the streets to protest.

And in an open letter released on Saturday, fans representing the Curva Fiesole group took aim at Vlahovic, president Rocco Commisso and director Joe Barone.

"So it's the usual, another small man without b****, without honour and without respect who goes to a club with no identity or sense of belonging," the statement read.

"Another ownership that after expressing its love for the Viola people, does what all their predecessors did: sell our best players to our historic rivals. 

"We're no longer surprised by anything and certainly won't tear our hair out having lost yet another buffoon."

 

Commisso recently criticised Juventus for their financial mismanagement, and the Fiorentina ultras felt he could have done more to block the move going through.

"We ask you president, what did they tell you to convince you to do such a thing?" the statement added. "You, who told a child you would not sell any more players to Juventus. 

"Congratulate Barone. He must've been convincing to tell you who knows what to talk you into an operation that, yes, brought in money but made you lose face in front of an entire city and beyond.

"How is it possible that you decided to do deals with the ultimate evil of that system that until the other day you fought against? 

"We thought, with pride, that we'd left behind the dark period of sales for profit and deals with those who shall not be named, only to go straight back into it.

"A city that had totally embraced your battles and would've continued to embrace you in future, but now feels abandoned and betrayed."

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has converted 28 big chances since the start of 2020-21, more than any other player in Serie A, while the 33 league goals scored in 2021 matched Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most in the Italian top flight during a calendar year. 

In a final dig at Vlahovic, the letter concluded: "We aren't prepared to watch our passion be trampled on, as your transfer market people don't seem to represent your way of approaching this adventure with us. 

"Our final message is for the squad, who are what really matter right now. You've proved that you have guts, we are with you. More battles await us and hopefully we'll prompt some regrets for those who left in the night like a coward."

Fiorentina have swiftly secured their replacement for Dusan Vlahovic after signing Brazilian Arthur Cabral from Swiss side Basel.

Vlahovic moved on to Juventus on Friday for an initial €70million, bringing an end to a saga that saw the 22-year-old targeted by a host of Europe's richest clubs.

Losing his services means Fiorentina were left with a gaping hole in their forward line, given Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Now they have a player they consider capable of making a major impact himself, with Cabral, who inherits the number nine shirt from Vlahovic, having shown prolific scoring form in the Swiss Super League and the Europa Conference League.

Announcing the deal, Fiorentina said: "ACF Fiorentina is delighted to announce the signing of Arthur Mendonca Cabral from FC Basel 1893 on a permanent transfer."

Neither side has disclosed the fee involved, although reports in Switzerland have put it around the €16.5million mark.

Cabral scored 65 goals in 106 matches for Basel, also assisting 17 times, and this season he has managed 27 goals and eight assists in just 31 games.

He came to Basel in August 2019, initially on loan from Brazilian giants Palmeiras, before the move was made permanent at the end of his first season.

In 2021, he was named the Swiss Super League's player of the year after helping Basel finish second in the table to runaway champions Young Boys.

Cabral joins a Fiorentina side who sit seventh in Serie A, just outside the European places, with Vincenzo Italiano's men next in action on February 5 when they face eighth-placed Lazio.

It wasn't so long ago that the notion of Juventus hoovering up talent from Serie A rivals would have been seen in a negative light by most Italian football fans.

But while their domination of Italy's top division only really ended last season when Inter brought the Bianconeri's nine-year subjugation of Serie A to a halt, their current situation would make you think it was far longer since they were a challenger.

When the season resumes after this international break, Juve will go into their next fixture at least 11 points off the top, down in fifth. For years their recruitment has been muddled and misguided, with Aaron Ramsey's fringe squad status the perfect embodiment of that.

But Dusan Vlahovic's arrival shows there is life in the Old Lady yet, and given the striker's rise to prominence, this move is also potentially massive for Serie A in general.

Fiorentina hadn't been shy about their desire to cash in on the Serbian, who turned 22 on Friday. They have been very public about how they simply could not afford to lose out on a transfer fee, a situation that was quickly threatening to become a real issue given his contract was due to expire in 2023.

Pretty much all of Europe's biggest clubs were linked with Vlahovic at some point over the past 12 months, and for a while most people's money would have been on him moving to England.

"Oh, another emerging talent scurrying off to chase the big bucks of the Premier League, how predictable," many 'calcio' fans were presumably muttering to themselves as… *checks notes*… Arsenal and Tottenham circled.

As the story reportedly went, Vlahovic's agent didn't seriously consider those two in the end. Whether it might have been a different story for Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United or even Chelsea is unclear, but a coup it remains for Juve.

Vlahovic's impact on Italian football, particularly over the past 18 months, has been significant. Some have suggested he's Serie A's answer to Erling Haaland – perhaps a slight exaggeration, but there's a reason Juve are investing in a guy who in 2021, let's not forget, became only the second player in the past 60 years to net 33 Serie A goals over a single calendar year.

Juve's attraction to him makes absolute sense when you consider a metric as reductive – yet, crucial – as goals. Following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit last year, the Bianconeri were left with a gaping maw in terms of finishing ability. The faith placed in Alvaro Morata to pick up the slack was as optimistic as it was naive, as the Spaniard has five in 22 Serie A games.

Vlahovic should, in theory, provide them with a number nine who is dedicated to goals. As Fiorentina's focal point this term, he has recorded 87 shots (second-most among Serie A players) and scored 15 non-penalty goals across all competitions.

Some might point to the fact those 15 strikes are a considerable increase on his non-penalty xG (expected goals) of 10.2, and there's obviously a chance he won't prove to be quite so clinical for Juve, but it clearly shows they are buying a player brimming with belief.

Similarly, being surrounded by better players in Turin may mean Vlahovic doesn't have to try as many low-xG shots. A quick look at his shot map in Serie A this season shows a significant variation in goal distances, which obviously has an impact on his xG per shot, which is 0.11 (excluding penalties).

That may not mean anything in isolation, but when you compare that to Tammy Abraham's 0.18, there's quite a gulf. The England striker seems to be better at getting into clear-cut goalscoring situations, but if Vlahovic is already proving this deadly from worse positions, imagine what he could do if he improves.

It's worth noting that by no means does Vlahovic only have eyes for goal. In fact, among 'conventional' strikers in Serie A this season, only four – and Paulo Dybala, nominally a creator anyway – have had more involvements in shot-ending sequences without taking the shot (45).

That speaks to Vlahovic's link-up play and his effectiveness at knitting attacks together in the final third, a skill that is not to every striker's liking. Yet he manages to fulfil this function without it being to the detriment of his goals output.

At Juve, assuming he links up in attack with Dybala, there may be less need for him to get as involved and that could potentially be how he improves his record of getting into higher xG situations.

It's fair to assume Juve would see that pay dividends on the goals front, given he already only averages 2.2 touches per shot inside the box – that's only fractionally more than Robert Lewandowski, Cristiano Ronaldo and Haaland (all 2.0), showing how he's more of an instinctive finisher than the likes of Mohamed Salah (3.1) and Kylian Mbappe (3.3), who are more about dribbling and beating defenders.

The fact is, Vlahovic still has elements to his game that could still improve, yet he's already performing at a high level. He may be young, but Juve have signed a player who can go straight into the team, which will presumably start being built around him.

Whether Massimiliano Allegri is the right coach for this new Juventus is another debate, but the acquisition of Vlahovic could be a game-changer.

At the very least, it's a genuine boost for Serie A to keep arguably its finest young player in the league despite the Premier League waving its vast sums in his direction.

With Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku gone, Vlahovic is surely primed to be Serie A's new poster boy.

Juventus have completed the signing of highly rated Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina for a fee of €70million.

The striker, who turned 22 on Friday, agreed to a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bianconeri and passed a medical.

Juve will pay the €70m fee over three financial years, plus additional costs of €11.6m. A further €10m will be due to Fiorentina should Vlahovic meet certain sporting objectives.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic joins Massimiliano Allegri's Juve team, who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's arrival in Turin may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Every league seems to have those teams that just produce talent on an apparently non-stop basis, before those players inevitably get picked off by the bigger boys.

In Germany, you can't move for former Schalke or Stuttgart players. There's Lyon and Monaco in France, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia in Spain, Southampton and Aston Villa in England.

In Italy, that team is probably Fiorentina, who are in the same position once again after La Viola sold star striker Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus in a €70million deal.

Stats Perform takes a look at some of the biggest names in Italian football who made a name for themselves with the team from Tuscany, and what they went on to achieve in the game.

 

Roberto Baggio

Having begun his career at Vicenza, The Divine Ponytail's move to Fiorentina saw his star rise as he spent five impressive years in the purple shirt.

However, after he helped Fiorentina to the 1990 UEFA Cup final, only to be defeated over two ill-tempered legs by their great rivals Juventus, salt was very much rubbed into the fans' wounds as the Bianconeri paid a then world-record fee to take Baggio.

Reports claimed that fans hurled bricks, chains and Molotov cocktails at Fiorentina's headquarters, and for the two days after the transfer was announced, club president Flavio Pontello took shelter in the stadium, with 50 injuries and nine arrests recorded.

Baggio would only improve his reputation further at Juve, winning the UEFA Cup in 1993, before securing a league and cup double two years later, scoring 115 goals in 200 games across five seasons before moving to Milan, where he won another Scudetto in his first year.

After being dismissed by Fabio Capello at San Siro in 1997, Baggio had an impressive season at Bologna where he scored a personal best 22 league goals, before moving back to the city of Milan with Inter.

Things did not work out at the Nerazzurri but he still went on to enjoy four final seasons in Serie A with Brescia, where he reached double figures in each campaign before retiring in 2004.

Gabriel Batistuta

There is arguably no more iconic player in Fiorentina history. A striker who football fans of a certain vintage remember banging in goals on Sunday afternoons during the nineties.

Unlike most of the players on this list, Batistuta actually spent the majority of his career at Fiorentina, staying for nine years before his big-money move to Roma.

The man affectionately known as 'Batigol' remains the club's record goalscorer with 159 goals in 198 games, though it does help his record that people like Vlahovic are usually sold before they can get anywhere near that total.

Though he had won a Coppa Italia, Batistuta wanted a Scudetto and moved to Roma in 2000 in order to get it. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30, a record which stood until Leonardo Bonucci moved to Milan from Juventus in 2017.

It seemed like a justified move when Batistuta scored 20 goals, including netting against his former club, on the way to winning the title in his first season in the Italian capital, but was unable to reach those heights again, scoring just 11 over the following season and a half before a loan move to Inter.

Rui Costa

The Portuguese maestro had made a name for himself at Benfica before moving to Italy in 1994 and making 230 appearances in seven years with La Viola, winning two Coppa Italia titles.

However, like Batistuta, Rui Costa was moved on for big money to try and help the club's finances, ending up at Milan for a then club-record fee of around £35m.

Rui Costa spent five years at San Siro where he won six trophies, including the Champions League in 2003 and Scudetto a year later. He moved back to Benfica in 2006 after the emergence of Kaka saw his minutes reduced.

Federico Bernardeschi

Bernardeschi came through the youth ranks at Fiorentina, with big things expected of him as he burst onto the scene after an impressive loan at Crotone in Serie B in the 2013-14 season.

During three years in the first team, Bernardeschi scored 23 goals in 93 games and registered 11 assists, which unfortunately for Viola fans saw old enemies Juve come swooping in again.

He has claimed three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies in Turin, as well as being a part of the Italy squad that won the rescheduled Euro 2020 last year.

Bernardeschi, who has scored just 11 times in 170 games for Juve, largely remains a squad player under Massimiliano Allegri, in part because of this next man...

Federico Chiesa

Another Fiorentina youth product, Chiesa had all eyes on him as soon as he broke through due to being the son of former Viola and Italy striker Enrico Chiesa.

Chiesa Jr made his first-team debut, somewhat ironically, against Juve at the age of 18, and over the next couple of years began to establish himself as the potential future of the club.

More suited to playing out wide than his father, who was a traditional central striker, Chiesa's managed 34 goals and 19 assists in 153 games at Fiorentina but it his tenacity, pace and skill that sets him apart.

That was enough to tempt – yes, you guessed it – Juve to come along and take him on a two-year loan, with an obligation to make it permanent at the end of the current campaign.

Chiesa had an impressive first season at Juve, including scoring the winning goal in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, before starring for Italy in their successful Euro 2020 campaign, scoring twice in seven appearances and making the team of the tournament.

He started 2021-22 in sharp form, only for a serious knee injury to end his season early.

 

There also must be honourable mentions for the likes of Luca Toni, whose emergence at Fiorentina earned him a lucrative move to Bayern Munich, and Francesco Toldo - he was sold to Inter at the same time that Costa was packed off to Milan to ease club debts.

Juan Cuadrado (now at Juventus) and Marcos Alonso were both sold to Chelsea for decent money two years apart, while Felipe Melo (Juventus), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) and Matias Vecino (Inter) continued Fiorentina's philosophy of buying low and selling high.

The path well-trodden out of the Stadio Artemio Franchi has often led to bigger and better things, and that bodes well for Vlahovic now that it appears he will be the next in line.

He seems to have all the tools to be the star striker this current, rather dour, edition of the Bianconeri require. Indeed, Vlahovic's 33 goals in Serie A last season matched the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo at Juve in 2020.

It might be tough to take (again) for Viola fans, but if history is anything to go by, their next hero won't be far away.

Of course, he'll probably also sign for Juve eventually, but that will just be a case of crossing the Ponte Vecchio when they come to it.

Juventus have completed the signing of highly rated Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina for a fee of €70million.

The striker, who turned 22 on Friday, agreed to a four-and-a-half-year deal with the Bianconeri and passed a medical.

Juve will pay the €70m fee over three financial years, plus additional costs of €11.6m. A further €10m will be due to Fiorentina should Vlahovic meet certain sporting objectives.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic joins Massimiliano Allegri's Juve team, who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's arrival in Turin may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Dusan Vlahovic is primed to complete his move to Juventus after arriving for his medical on Friday.

The 21-year-old striker is set to seal a reported €75million switch from Fiorentina, which looks likely to be confirmed before the weekend.

Juve posted a tweet showing the Serbian arriving to undertake the formalities of his move.

Vlahovic is the joint-top scorer in Serie A this season with 17 goals from 21 appearances – a tally only matched by Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

He has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe after his impressive form over the past two seasons.

Vlahovic will join a Juve team who have often struggled to turn possession into goals this season, with Massimiliano Allegri's men having scored just 34 times across 23 Serie A games.

That means their attack is the 11th-best in the league, way behind leading scorers Inter (53), while Fiorentina have scored 41 times so far with Vlahovic on board.

Serbia international Vlahovic, who joined La Viola from Partizan in 2018, has converted 28 big chances since the start of last season, more than any other player in Serie A.

 

His tally of 21 goals during 2020-21 was the highest recorded by a Fiorentina player in a single campaign since Alberto Gilardino in 2008-09 (25).

Vlahovic also netted 33 league goals in 2021; matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most scored in the Italian top-flight during a calendar year. 

Last week, Fiorentina chief executive Joe Barone confirmed the club were open to selling Vlahovic, who subsequently missed Sunday's draw with Cagliari due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Vlahovic's imminent signing may pave the way for Alvaro Morata to leave Juve, with Barcelona reportedly keen on signing the Spain international, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

Dusan Vlahovic will bring the goals that Juventus have been missing this season, according to Marco Tardelli.

Tardelli, the former Inter, Juventus and Italy midfielder, has no doubt Vlahovic - who seems set to join Juve from Fiorentina before the end of the transfer window - will be a success in Turin.

Juve have struggled in attack this season, scoring just 34 times across 23 matches. That ranks them 11th in Serie A for goals scored, way behind Inter's league-leading 53. Their issues were on show for all to see on Sunday, when the Bianconeri managed just eight attempts against Milan, with none hitting the target in a 0-0 draw.

Vlahovic has scored 17 league goals for Fiorentina this term in 21 appearances. In 2021, the 21-year-old equalled the record set by former Juve star Cristiano Ronaldo for the amount of Serie A goals scored in a calendar year with 33.

"An important purchase. He has the qualities Juventus need. He will bring Max [Allegri] the goals Juve missed," Tardelli told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"You can see that he has something special even when he doesn't score, he is one who also plays for the team.

 

"He has shown personality. He will improve even more thanks to his new team-mates, he can score more.

"Will he feel the pressure? You never know the reaction upon joining a great team, but playing with higher-level people usually helps you."

The Serbia international seems set to be Serie A's latest posterboy, but Tardelli does not believe Vlahovic can yet be compared to some of the league's greatest players.

Tardelli added: "No to comparisons. I read about [Christian] Vieri, [Gabriel] Batistuta.

"Not that [Vlahovic] has little talent, but they are players with another physical strength, who have more to rely on than he does."

Allegri has consistently ruled Juve out of the title race this season. The Bianconeri sit fifth, a point behind Atalanta in fourth but 11 adrift of leaders and champions Inter.

Tardelli says Juve need to strengthen in other departments to became a real force once again.

"There is also a need for more, especially in midfield," he said. "Someone has to lend a hand to [Manuel] Locatelli. For next year, somebody must also be found for the defence, some changes must be made.

"[Giorgio] Chiellini can't be eternal, I don't think they trust [Daniele] Rugani very much."

Key to providing the ammunition for Vlahovic for the remainder of this season will be Paulo Dybala, who is yet to sign a new contract with Juve – his deal runs out at the end of the campaign.

 

Tardelli believes Dybala must step up, despite the Argentina international being Juve's top scorer in all competitions this term with 11 goals, while nobody in the squad betters his 15 direct goal contributions.

"One player like him is never too many," Tardelli said of Dybala. "Contractual issues will be dealt with, but he must prove that he is worth what he asks for.

"Lately he has not been the leader Juventus needed. Too inconsistent. I don't know how much he was affected by COVID and how much by the renewal issue."

Dusan Vlahovic has drawn interest from Juventus, Arsenal and Tottenham among others.

The 21-year-old has 18 months remaining on his contract and Fiorentina are keen to maximise their profit on him.

Vlahovic has netted 38 goals in the past 18 months in Serie A.

TOP STORY – FRESH TALKS ON VLAHOVIC DEAL

Juventus are set for fresh talks on Thursday on a deal to sign Fiorentina's Vlahovic, reports Fabrizio Romano.

The Serbia striker has attracted plenty of interest but an agreement between the Bianconeri and Fiorentina is in place.

The stumbling block is Vlahovic's final contract and agent's fees, with a deal potentially set to trigger Alvaro Morata's exit to Barcelona, although Romano claims there are no new talks on that.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal claims that Barcelona are working on a plan to raise €100million (£83m) in funds to lure Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland to the Catalan club. The Blaugrana are determined to win the race to sign Haaland despite interest from wealthy giants Real MadridManchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Bayern Munich's 32-year-old forward Thomas Muller has drawn interest from Newcastle United and Everton as he approaches the final year of his contract, claims Sport Bild.

- L'Equipe claims that Bruno Guimaraes had told Lyon he wants to join Newcastle after the Magpies tabled a bid.

- The Sun reports that Manchester United have put their search for a new manager on hold as they consider whether to make Ralf Rangnick's stay permanent.

- Staying at United, numerous reports in England suggest Jesse Lingard is angry with the club as their demands have put off Newcastle's attempt to sign the player on loan.

- Ousmane Dembele wants to stay at Barcelona after all, according to Sport. The France international's representatives met with Barca boss Xavi this week.

- Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele is set to join Valencia on loan, reports Telefoot.

Arsenal's search of attacking reinforcements has apparently led to Alexander Isak after it became clear Dusan Vlahovic is seemingly headed to Juventus.

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang out of form and ostracised at the Emirates Stadium and Alexandre Lacazette struggling for goals, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is desperate to land attacking reinforcements in January.

Their hunt for Fiorentina hitman Vlahovic has apparently failed but Sweden star Isak may be a potential option for the Premier League side.

TOP STORY – ISAK THE MAN FOR MIKEL?

Vlahovic has been a man in demand during the January transfer window, though it appears Juve have won the race in a €75million deal.

Arsenal are now thought to be turning their attention to Real Sociedad forward Isak, and are reportedly ready to make him their club-record signing by paying £75million, which would trigger Isak's release clause.

Isak scored 17 goals in 34 LaLiga outings last term, but he has managed just four from 18 top-flight appearances in 2021-22 thus far.

ROUND UP

- Newcastle United's pursuit of new players in their fight against relegation has reportedly led to a €40m (£33.5m) bid for Lyon's defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to the Guardian. Arsenal and Juventus have also been touted as potential suitors.

- The Evening Standard says Tottenham are planning a loan deal for Fiorentina's Sofyan Amrabat as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his midfield with Tanguy Ndombele, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso all set to be allowed to leave. A move for Georginio Wijnaldum, whose move to Paris Saint-Germain has not exactly gone to plan, has also been tipped.

- Germany full-back Robin Gosens could be about to swap Atalanta for Serie A rivals Inter, with a move in the "final stages", says Fabrizio Romano.

- Nicolas Tagliafico has told Ajax he wants to joined Barcelona in what he considers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Goal first reported Barca coach Xavi was eyeing the left-back to provide competition for Jordi Alba.

- Donny van de Beek is seemingly headed for a loan move out of Manchester United. Crystal Palace are said by Sky Sports to be in direct negotiations with the Red Devils, while a temporary switch to Valencia is also an option.

Every league seems to have those teams that just produce talent on an apparently non-stop basis, before those players inevitably get picked off by the bigger boys.

In Germany, you can't move for former Schalke or Stuttgart players. There's Lyon and Monaco in France, Athletic Bilbao and Valencia in Spain, Southampton and Aston Villa in England.

In Italy, that team is probably Fiorentina, who appear to be in the same position once again as La Viola are reportedly on the verge of selling star striker Dusan Vlahovic to Juventus for a deal believed to be in the region of €75million.

Stats Perform takes a look at some of the biggest names in Italian football who made a name for themselves with the team from Tuscany, and what they went on to achieve in the game.

 

Roberto Baggio

Having begun his career at Vicenza, The Divine Ponytail's move to Fiorentina saw his star rise as he spent five impressive years in the purple shirt.

However, after he helped Fiorentina to the 1990 UEFA Cup final, only to be defeated over two ill-tempered legs by their great rivals Juventus, salt was very much rubbed into the fans' wounds as the Bianconeri paid a then world-record fee to take Baggio.

Reports claimed that fans hurled bricks, chains and Molotov cocktails at Fiorentina's headquarters, and for the two days after the transfer was announced, club president Flavio Pontello took shelter in the stadium, with 50 injuries and nine arrests recorded.

Baggio would only improve his reputation further at Juve, winning the UEFA Cup in 1993, before securing a league and cup double two years later, scoring 115 goals in 200 games across five seasons before moving to Milan, where he won another Scudetto in his first year.

After being dismissed by Fabio Capello at San Siro in 1997, Baggio had an impressive season at Bologna where he scored a personal best 22 league goals, before moving back to the city of Milan with Inter.

Things did not work out at the Nerazzurri but he still went on to enjoy four final seasons in Serie A with Brescia, where he reached double figures in each campaign before retiring in 2004.

Gabriel Batistuta

There is arguably no more iconic player in Fiorentina history. A striker who football fans of a certain vintage remember banging in goals on Sunday afternoons during the nineties.

Unlike most of the players on this list, Batistuta actually spent the majority of his career at Fiorentina, staying for nine years before his big-money move to Roma.

The man affectionately known as 'Batigol' remains the club's record goalscorer with 159 goals in 198 games, though it does help his record that people like Vlahovic are usually sold before they can get anywhere near that total.

Though he had won a Coppa Italia, Batistuta wanted a Scudetto and moved to Roma in 2000 in order to get it. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player over the age of 30, a record which stood until Leonardo Bonucci moved to Milan from Juventus in 2017.

It seemed like a justified move when Batistuta scored 20 goals, including netting against his former club, on the way to winning the title in his first season in the Italian capital, but was unable to reach those heights again, scoring just 11 over the following season and a half before a loan move to Inter.

Rui Costa

The Portuguese maestro had made a name for himself at Benfica before moving to Italy in 1994 and making 230 appearances in seven years with La Viola, winning two Coppa Italia titles.

However, like Batistuta, Rui Costa was moved on for big money to try and help the club's finances, ending up at Milan for a then club-record fee of around £35m.

Rui Costa spent five years at San Siro where he won six trophies, including the Champions League in 2003 and Scudetto a year later. He moved back to Benfica in 2006 after the emergence of Kaka saw his minutes reduced.

Federico Bernardeschi

Bernardeschi came through the youth ranks at Fiorentina, with big things expected of him as he burst onto the scene after an impressive loan at Crotone in Serie B in the 2013-14 season.

During three years in the first team, Bernardeschi scored 23 goals in 93 games and registered 11 assists, which unfortunately for Viola fans saw old enemies Juve come swooping in again.

He has claimed three Serie A titles and two Coppa Italia trophies in Turin, as well as being a part of the Italy squad that won the rescheduled Euro 2020 last year.

Bernardeschi, who has scored just 11 times in 170 games for Juve, largely remains a squad player under Massimiliano Allegri, in part because of this next man...

Federico Chiesa

Another Fiorentina youth product, Chiesa had all eyes on him as soon as he broke through due to being the son of former Viola and Italy striker Enrico Chiesa.

Chiesa Jr made his first-team debut, somewhat ironically, against Juve at the age of 18, and over the next couple of years began to establish himself as the potential future of the club.

More suited to playing out wide than his father, who was a traditional central striker, Chiesa's managed 34 goals and 19 assists in 153 games at Fiorentina but it his tenacity, pace and skill that sets him apart.

That was enough to tempt – yes, you guessed it – Juve to come along and take him on a two-year loan, with an obligation to make it permanent at the end of the current campaign.

Chiesa had an impressive first season at Juve, including scoring the winning goal in the Coppa Italia final against Atalanta, before starring for Italy in their successful Euro 2020 campaign, scoring twice in seven appearances and making the team of the tournament.

He started 2021-22 in sharp form, only for a serious knee injury to end his season early.

 

There also must be honourable mentions for the likes of Luca Toni, whose emergence at Fiorentina earned him a lucrative move to Bayern Munich, and Francesco Toldo - he was sold to Inter at the same time that Costa was packed off to Milan to ease club debts.

Juan Cuadrado (now at Juventus) and Marcos Alonso were both sold to Chelsea for decent money two years apart, while Felipe Melo (Juventus), Stevan Jovetic (Manchester City) and Matias Vecino (Inter) continued Fiorentina's philosophy of buying low and selling high.

The path well-trodden out of the Stadio Artemio Franchi has often led to bigger and better things, and that bodes well for Vlahovic now that it appears he will be the next in line.

He seems to have all the tools to be the star striker this current, rather dour, edition of the Bianconeri require. Indeed, Vlahovic's 33 goals in Serie A last season matched the record set by Cristiano Ronaldo at Juve in 2020.

It might be tough to take (again) for Viola fans, but if history is anything to go by, their next hero won't be far away.

Of course, he'll probably also sign for Juve eventually, but that will just be a case of crossing the Ponte Vecchio when they come to it.

Anthony Martial has made no secret of his desire to leave Manchester United in the January window – and the France international appears to have been granted his wish.

Restricted to just four starts in all competitions this season, Martial has very much been on the periphery at United in what is his seventh campaign at the club.

However, there are no shortage of suitors for Martial and it looks increasingly likely that the 26-year-old will spend the remainder of the campaign away from Old Trafford.


TOP STORY – SECOND TIME LUCKY FOR SEVILLA

Sevilla had a loan bid for Martial rejected earlier this month, but Goal reports that the issues have been ironed out and the out-of-favour forward is now set to undergo a medical.

Juventus are said to have been among a number of other European sides in the running to sign Martial, but Sevilla were always his preferred destination.

The LaLiga club are expected to pay a loan fee for the former Monaco man, potentially as much as €5.96million (£5m), while the player himself will accept a cut in wages.


ROUND-UP

– After growing frustrated in their attempt to sign Dusan Vlahovic from Fiorentina, The Sun reports that Arsenal may now instead go after Real Madrid's Luka Jovic this month.

– Calciomercato claims that Serie A leaders Inter are close to strengthening their squad with the addition of striker Felipe Caicedo from Genoa.

Watford are set to move quickly on the back of sacking head coach Claudio Ranieri by bringing in Roy Hodgson as early as Tuesday, according to Sky Sports.

– Goal suggest that Bayern Munich are targeting Chelsea's Andreas Christensen on a free transfer after Niklas Sule turned down the offer of a new contract in Bavaria.

Manchester City are increasingly confident of wrapping up a deal for Julian Alvarez. However, the Daily Mail reports that the striker will initially remain on loan with River Plate.

Newcastle United have made a fresh approach for Man Utd winger Jesse Lingard, according to The Telegraph. The Magpies are happy to pay a £6m loan fee.

Fiorentina have received "important offers" for Dusan Vlahovic and would even be willing to let him move to rivals Juventus. 

Vlahovic is one of the most in-demand players in Europe after a sensational 2021 saw him join Cristiano Ronaldo and Luca Toni as the only players in the past 60 years to score more than 30 Serie A goals in a calendar year. 

The 21-year-old has found the back of the net 20 times in 24 appearances in all competitions this season alone, with Ciro Immobile (21) the only Serie A player to have registered more. 

Vlahovic will be out of contract at the end of next season and has been heavily linked with Juve, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Fiorentina are open to selling him and have received offers, but the lack of responses from the player's camp have hampered their chances of doing a deal during the January transfer window. 

The Viola are hoping to receive in the region of €70million but have also offered the striker a new contract in an attempt to avoid losing him for nothing when his deal expires. 

"We've received some important offers for him but have never received feedback from his agents," Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade told Sportitalia. 

"There has always been great transparency on our part in all communication. All the doors are open. We really want to understand what the agents and the player want to do. 

"We're ready to spend money with important offers for his renewal. We also have important offers to sell him. A club like Fiorentina cannot afford to lose a player on a free transfer.  

"They were all valid and satisfactory offers, with payment methods that suited us. We couldn't go ahead with the deal because there was never any contact with the player's agents. 

"It's an important valuation, over €70million with no swap deal and no way of paying in instalments. The president has imposed this on us." 

Asked specifically if Fiorentina would even be willing to sell to Juve, Prade replied: "The doors are open to everyone." 

Newcastle United have been eager to make some big moves in January, as their wealthy owners look to splash the cash in order to secure Premier League survival.

They have already brought in Kieran Trippier and Chris Wood, though a move for Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos appears to have hit an impasse.

However, Eddie Howe also wants more attacking reinforcements and Tottenham's out-of-favour Dele Alli is the latest name to be linked with a move to the north east.

 

TOP STORY – ALLI TO SWITCH SPURS FOR ST JAMES' PARK?

Alli was omitted from Spurs' squad for Sunday's defeat to Chelsea and it seems that the England midfielder is surplus to requirements under Antonio Conte.

Once a bona fide star under Mauricio Pochettino, it has been a stark fall from grace for Alli, though at 25 he will still no doubt feel he has much to offer.

The Athletic reported on Sunday that Alli would be allowed to leave Tottenham on loan before the end of the window, and the Daily Mail have now claimed that Newcastle want to add him to their squad. 

 

ROUND UP

- Newcastle  are now being rivalled by Serie A giants Milan in the race to sign Diego Carlos from Sevilla, who have put a high valuation on the defender. The Athletic reported last week that another Premier League club were also interested in the Brazilian.

- Fabrizio Romano says that Gedson Fernandes, who spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Spurs last season, is to join Galatasaray from Benfica.

- Romano has also reported that Christian Eriksen is in advanced talks with Brentford over signing a short-term deal with the Bees. The Denmark playmaker, who had a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Euro 2020, left Inter last year.

- Goal are reporting that Spurs are also open to letting Giovani Lo Celso leave the club. The Argentina midfielder was also left out of their squad on Sunday.

- Multiple sources are reporting that Aston Villa are in talks with Juventus over midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur.

- The Times and Tuttosport have both suggested Juve will look to use funds from the sale of Bentancur to push on with a deal for Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic

Mikel Arteta was frustrated at a lack of guile from his Arsenal in a goalless draw at home to Burnley and the Gunners boss did not seem optimistic he will be able to bring in reinforcements this month.

Arsenal were looking to move level to go fourth in the Premier League by overcoming a Burnley team that had lost their last two away games 3-1.

However, the Clarets held firm at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, with Nick Pope making some fine saves and Alexandre Lacazette spurning a glorious opportunity.

It means Arsenal head into the Premier League's winter break sitting in sixth, while Burnley are bottom but hold between two and four games in hand on their relegation rivals.

The Gunners had 20 attempts, with five hitting the target, yet they have now failed to score in four successive matches in all competitions. It is the first time they have gone on such a run since December 2005.

Arsenal have also failed to win any of their first five games in a calendar year for the first time in 27 years, while it is the first time since October 2008 that they have not beaten a team at the bottom of the league at home.

"We started slow, we looked leggy and didn't have enough rhythm or intention to attack the way we wanted," Arteta told BBC Sport.

"We tried in every different way but lacked the quality in the final third. At the end, when we have a really low block, you need spark and creativity to win football matches and today we didn't do that."

For all their possession (75.7 per cent), Arsenal only created one big chance against Burnley, defined by Opta as an opportunity from which a player would be expected to score, though they finished with an expected goals (xG) of 1.4, suggesting their finishing was below par.

Pope made two excellent saves to deny Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe, who subsequently turned provider for Arsenal's best chance, only for Lacazette to prod wide of an open goal from the midfielder's cut back. 

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future uncertain – albeit he was unavailable for health reasons on Sunday – Arsenal are reportedly keen to bring in a striker this month, and it would seem it is a vital need if they are to secure Champions League qualification.

Dusan Vlahovic is said to be a target, with Fiorentina willing to sell the forward, who scored 33 goals in Serie A in 2021, matching Cristiano Ronaldo's record from 2020. However, the Viola have insisted no offer has yet been received for a player rumoured to be valued at €70million (£58.6m).

Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also been linked, while Arteta has previously said he would like to bolster his midfield, but asked about Arsenal's transfer plans for the remainder of January, he replied: "In this market things are complicated."

Burnley did offer a threat of their own, with Dwight McNeil particularly dangerous on the counter. No player had more than his four attempts, one of which almost caught Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale cold early on.

Ramsdale did his part, however, and that was the only save he had to make. The former Sheffield United goalkeeper echoed Arteta's complaints about Arsenal's attacking output.

"I will give credit to Burnley, we know what they are about, it is frustrating from our behalf because we were putting balls into the box and that's meat and drink for Burnley," he told BBC Sport. "We didn't create that quality we needed."

Ramsdale was not wrong. Arsenal played 42 passes/crosses into the box – a season-high for the Gunners. Indeed, their 23 crosses from open play was also a high mark for 2021-22, yet only two of these were successful.

Battling Burnley made 42 clearances, including 27 headed clearances. Both figures are season-highs for Sean Dyche's side.

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