Fiorentina had a fight on their hands to keep Juan Cuadrado last summer, not aided by the Colombian’s excellent showing at the World Cup in Brazil.
Coming off a campaign that saw him bag 11 goals and five assists, the 26-year-old shone for the Cafeteros and a big money move away from La Viola looked almost inevitable.
Manchester United and Barcelona were the prime candidates for Cuadrado’s signature as Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle admitted the possibility of a sale.
But Della Valle also noted that the Colombian would be kept if at all possible – and to the delight of the Stadio Artemio Franchi faithful, that’s what ended up happening.
Now, Cuadrado’s loyalty has been rewarded with an improved contract. On Friday, the Colombian put pen to paper on fresh terms running through 2019 at reported £45,000 per week.
While a new deal certainly solidifies ties between Cuadrado and Fiorentina, there remains a reasonable expectation that he will depart at some point.
The contract reportedly contains a £27.5 release clause, which could be seen as a bargain by some. And beyond this, Cuadrado’s wages pale in comparison to those on offer at the clubs reportedly interested in him over the summer.
At both United and Barcelona his £45,000 per week salary would put him well towards the bottom of the wage bill, given each club’s superior spending power.
His Fiorentina wages would put him nearly on par with back-up goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard at United, with the likes of Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia reportedly earning significantly more.
Meanwhile, Cuadrado’s salary is closest to that of 21-year-old Rafinha at Barcelona. Only a handful of players – including 31-year-old shot stopper Claudio Bravo – are paid less at the Camp Nou.
Holding on to Cuadrado was a major victory this summer for Fiorentina as is locking him down to new terms, but the reality is he’s likely there for the taking for the financially endowed.
The Viola simply can’t compete economically with Europe’s elite, who could foreseeably afford to pay Cuadrado’s release clause – and offer him top class wages.
Fiorentina will likely face another fight to retain his services when July rolls around in light of this, despite having just received affirmation of the Colombian’s commitment to the cause.