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Fiorentina Fans Unveil Banner Aimed at Federico Bernardeschi

Federico Bernardeschi’s days at Fiorentina look numbered after furious members of the Serie A club’s fanbase poured scorn on the winger with an inflammatory banner outside the club’s stadium.

Juventus are close to agreeing a deal to sign the versatile attacking star, but it is the manner in which Bernardeschi has looked to force through his departure that has really angered fans.

Marko Pjaca and Stefano Sturaro have both been linked as potential makeweights in the deal, but the 23-year-old’s refusal to sign a new contract has led to the unveiling of a banner outside the club’s Stadio Artemio Franchi.

The incendiary message directed towards the wantaway winger reads in Italian:

“Who wouldn’t like to spit you in your face… Bernardeschi you shitty hunchback”

Bernardeschi, who scored 13 goals in 32 games last season, is eager to move on this summer, and the angry message towards him comes after Fiorentina’s sporting director confirmed the player’s intentions earlier this month.

‘I’ve had to take into account the fact that Bernardeschi doesn’t want to renew, despite Fiorentina having made a major offer,’ Pantaleo Corvino said.

‘Will he go to Juventus? I don’t know. We have the privilege of having one of the brightest stars of Italian football, we’ll see what we have to do.’

The current mood hasn’t been so downbeat since the club went bankrupt in 2002 and was forced to start from the third tier, and the expected sale of Bernardeschi will only add to the sense of pessimism heading into the new campaign.

While the club is currently in good economic health, manger Stefano Pioli has been left frustrated in the transfer market with the owners, the Della Valle family, choosing not to invest but to recoup funds through selling star assets.

A season without European football awaits the Tuscans having seen a 2016-17 season that started full of promise fizzle out with an eighth-placed finish, and Juventus have looked to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding the club.

Massimiliano Allegri has already brought in Douglas Costa from Bayern Munich in an initial one-year loan deal with the option to buy next summer, and the Italian manager sees Bernardeschi as another vital recruit.

Reports in Italy suggest that Juve may be willing to offload a fringe player as part of the deal, which could cost the reigning Serie A champions around €50million (£44m) if Fiorentina’s asking price is met.