Fiorentina angry at Roma for parading Mohamed Salah with contract up in air
Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle says he's not impressed with Serie A rivals Roma for inviting Mohamed Salah to Italy while his contractual situation still has not been resolved, while also denying having made a bid for Liverpool's Mario Balotelli -- yet.
Speaking after Fiorentina's impressive 2-1 win over Barcelona in a preseason friendly on Sunday, Della Valle criticised Roma for practically parading Salah as one of their players.
The Egyptian still has a contract with the Viola for the coming season, although he has made it clear he has no intention of returning to them after a successful six-month loan spell at the back end of last season.
Instead, he is keeping himself fit in Rome, waiting for technical issues to be resolved so that he can join the Giallorossi on loan from Chelsea. According to Della Valle, he could be waiting a long time yet, with Fiorentina set to fight their corner to the end, which is why he thinks Roma did not make a wise move in inviting Salah to the Eternal City last week.
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"It wasn't a nice thing to see Salah arrive in Rome," Della Valle said, according to La Repubblica. "He's not been presented officially, even if he effectively has been. Maybe Roma could have avoided all of this.
"Solicitors are working on the issue -- ours, his and Chelsea's. We're trying to ensure a contract is respected, and then we'll see. We don't like arguing with anybody and we haven't said either 'yes' or 'no' to Salah joining Roma, but it's a very delicate subject and I can't say too much about it.
"They may be convinced about it in other cities, but all we say is that we've got a contract in our hands. If they're happy, let them be happy. The player left here convinced by his agent and I'm the first to be disappointed by the way this whole issue has evolved.
"When Salah arrived here, he was practically unknown. But I've got to think about the future now and open up a new cycle."
Della Valle appears to have closed the chapter on Salah as a Fiorentina player, even if his club are still pursuing compensation either from Chelsea, the player or his future employers for breach of contract.
Another chapter is instead opening with Paulo Sousa on the Viola bench for Vincenzo Montella, following his acrimonious departure this summer -- something else Della Valle admits he regrets more for the way it happened than for the fact it did -- and Mario Gomez no longer on the roster.
Finding a replacement for the German forward, who Della Valle says may still return after his initial season-long loan at Besiktas, is currently his priority and Balotelli is one name doing the rounds.
Rumours they are set to bring the Italian forward back home are "not true," but that does not mean something may not still come of it.
"We're not negotiating for him," Della Valle added. "He's not part of our project, even if there is no doubting he's got the characteristics. As things stand today, though, there is nothing to it; there are no negotiations."
That might change, however.
"The transfer market is open until [Aug.] 31 so you'll have to wait and see," he said. "I've seen some promising signs so we're going to build a great squad, aiming to entertain while trying to win, even though we are aware that the top clubs have all strengthened and are really strong."