Fiorentina looked to the Premier League this summer for reinforcements in the form of Marko Marin and Micah Richards, but both have been stunted thus far in Italy.
Marin – or the ‘German Messi’ as he became known prior to his 2012 move to Stamford Bridge from Werder Bremen – had endured a particularly frustrating time.
A hamstring problem had kept him out for the entirety of the young campaign, but he finally recovered to be called up for Thursday’s Europa League encounter with PAOK.
And with the Viola on top 1-0 in Greece with 12 minutes to go, Marin finally got his chance to get on the pitch for his new side.
It was a rather unremarkable 12 minutes as he got just three touches with Fiorentina holding out for the win, but was an important step nonetheless in his tenure in Tuscany.
There looks to be no place for Marin back at Stamford Bridge and if he can perform at Fiorentina, a permanent move could be on the cards.
Boss Vincenzo Montella throwing him into the fray at his first availability is a positive sign for the German that he’ll get a chance to prove himself with the Viola this term.
While a late cameo spelled good news for Marin, City loanee Richards spent the entire evening on the pitch and gave an excellent account of himself in the victory.
The 26-year-old has suffered with physical problems and clocked up just 98 minutes of Serie A football to date, limiting his opportunities to show his quality.
But in 90 minutes against PAOK he racked up 11 clearances, two key passes, two tackles and an 88% pass accuracy rate, playing a key role in a hard-fought win.
Montella is certainly prepared to go on with the Premier League-owned pair in his plans, something that can’t be said of the managers at their respective parent clubs.
After some initial frustrations due to injury set-backs things are looking up for the two and they have plenty of motivation to make themselves out essential figures at Fiorentina.
Both Marin and Richards took a step in the right direction on Thursday and will be eager to keep moving forward, with a weekend trip to face AC Milan up next on the docket.