Just a brief glance at the Instagram account of Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa (£1.60) tells you everything you need to know about his roots. The 21-year-old forward was born in Genoa as a result of his father’s football career, Enrico having played for Sampdoria during the 1995/96 campaign.
Aside from one season at Lazio between 2002/03, the Chiesa family have resided in Florence since Enrico first moved to Fiorentina in 1999, and it shows. The photos posted by the youngster depict his childhood memories of supporting the team, taking part in Florentine traditions, playing football in the historic city centre, and many proud moments as the talented youngster has progressed through the club’s youth sector right through to captaining the first team in recent times.
How amazing is this? Federico Chiesa as a boy 💜 pic.twitter.com/Zmp8sj1c3k
— Chloe Beresford (@ChloeJBeresford) January 27, 2017
His talent saw him make his first team debut at the age of only 18, and in normal circumstances he may have even moved on to bigger things before now. Yet his father’s sound advice and his relationship with former Coach Stefano Pioli have seen him firmly remain at the club that have nurtured his progress since 2007, and until recently that didn’t seem like it would be changing any time soon.
“There’s no jealousy,” Enrico told La Gazzetta dello Sport in 2017, looking back on his son’s first-team debut versus Juventus. “It just makes me proud. He makes my heart beat. It brings confirmation of how far Federico has come in a year. This time last summer he was just a promising youth team player, and he’s a boy who has not changed a bit after the wave of popularity. He’s kept the same humility.”
Yet things have changed at Fiorentina, and the club is facing a real crisis at the current time. Pioli left the club in extremely acrimonious circumstances at the beginning of April, while new boss Vincenzo Montella has failed to win a match since talking over the reigns immediately after. Supporters are at continual loggerheads with the club’s owners, and the instability could well convince the Chiesa family that the time is right for Federico to move on.
There are talks of a vastly improved contract on the table, but so too are there numerous rumours of a large offer incoming from the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus and Liverpool. In terms of his time on the pitch, Chiesa still has room for improvement.
Six goals and three assists in the league is a relatively low return for a player of his clear and obvious talent, and in normal circumstances it would make sense to remain in Florence for another year, still leaving the youngster with plenty of time to make a big move in future.
However, the toxic environment that currently plagues the club is not exactly conducive to his development, and this could see him take the plunge ahead of schedule.
“Federico is always with us and I hope he will be for a long time to come,” Viola Vice President Giancarlo Antognoni told DAZN. “It’s difficult to make predictions now, but he has proved that he is very fond of Fiorentina and this city, so we hope he can remain.”
His situation in the forthcoming transfer window should be very interesting indeed, with Fiorentina desperate to hold on to their home-grown star, and a myriad of big clubs hoping to be the one to whisk him away.