Deadline day has passed and Juan Cuadrado is a Fiorentina player - a situation that looked highly improbable even just a few weeks ago.
The Viola were always transparent about their fear of losing Cuadrado. After a brilliant Serie A campaign and stunning World Cup performance, it seemed only a matter of time before he’d be plucked away.
Barcelona and Manchester United were the Colombian’s two most likely destinations. The two giants witnessed a downturn in fortunes last term, needing to be freshened up - with the capital in their coffers to do so.
Then, one of the shocks of the summer happened. Barcelona spent £120 million on new signings whilst United lavished £154 million to bolster their squad - but neither club invested a penny in the £32 million-rated Cuadrado.
And no other side stepped in to fill the void, either. Instead, Fiorentina were left alone to keep hold of their star man, something that president Andre Della Valle called a “gift”.
Cuadrado, for his part, is satisfied to stay in Florence. He told reporters: “I heard the rumours about Barcelona and Manchester United. But the truth is that I have always remained calm.
“I’m happy to stay in Florence for at least another season. I’m good here.”
At 26, Cuadrado still has plenty of time left to fulfill personal ambitions. In all likelihood he’ll end up leaving Fiorentina at some point in the near future, but understandably doesn’t feel a sense of urgency to move on just yet.
He continues to improve with each passing season. Cuadrado set career highs with 11 goals and five assists in Serie A last term and there’s no reason to believe he’s topped out.
Fiorentina provide an excellent platform for the Colombian to develop further. Vincenzo Montella’s side play an attractive, free-flowing brand of football that suits Cuadrado’s characteristics. Not to mention, Champions League qualification isn’t out of their reach.
So for Cuadrado, remaining with the club where he’s made his name is no tragedy, as he’s aptly pointed out.
The fact that Europe’s financial elite didn’t make a play for him this summer was certainly a surprise, but without a doubt he’ll be a concrete target for the likes of United down the road.
For now Cuadrado will stay in a familiar environment, one that he’s flourished in to date. He’ll move on when the opportunity presents itself - and continue being a “gift” for Fiorentina in the meantime.