Is Higuain really worth double the price of Gomez? Fiorentina snap up one of the bargains of the summer

The German giant has been captured by the Viola in a move which puts some of the continent’s better-stocked clubs to shame

COMMENT
By Kris Voakes

On Monday, Bayern Munich confirmed Mario Gomez has played his last game for the European champions.

That in itself was not unexpected news, but his destination should come as a jolt to many fans of big clubs across the continent who decided against making this summer’s bargain signing.

His arrival at Fiorentina for €16 million brings an end to many weeks of speculation regarding the German hitman’s future which was first stoked by the rise of Mario Mandzukic in all-conquering Bayern’s lone striking role.

The 27-year-old once was the most expensive player in the Bundesliga when his move from Stuttgart to Bayern in 2009 cost the club almost €35m.

But since it became clear Gomez was no longer a key member of die Roten’s first-team squad, the likes of Juventus, Napoli, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been credited with an interest, but none had the conviction of the Tuscans.

And that is an amazing fact given Gomez’s goal threat.

At a time when Arsenal are busy earmarking almost €30m for Real Madrid’s sometime reserve Gonzalo Higuain, the purchase of Gomez at around half that price surely represents one of the transfers of the summer – with David Villa’s move to Atletico Madrid for just over €5m another bargain buy.

While Higuain has taken six seasons to reach 122 goals with los Blancos since his switch from River Plate, Gomez has netted 113 in just four years in Munich.

A year ago, he was coming off a 41-goal season which included 13 on the continent.

Mandzukic’s suitability to Jupp Heynckes’ structure hasn’t turned Gomez into a bad player.

Far from it, in fact.

If anything the 189cm front man, who turns 28 on Wednesday, has an even bigger incentive to show what he can do given his treatment at Bayern.

Whatever the era, there has always been a premium put on goalscoring centre-forwards, making the failure of some of the Champions League’s big hitters to press home a real claim on Gomez nothing short of astounding.

But while the 58-cap Germany international will feature in the Europa League rather than the main event over the next 10 months, his arrival in Florence makes for an appetising prospect in Serie A next season.

With only three Champions League slots up for grabs, Vincenzo Montella’s team were left to deal with the anguish of a near-miss when they finished in fourth spot by the narrowest of margins last term.

But their response has been to ramp up the heat on Juventus, Napoli and AC Milan by adding to recent transfer triumphs such as Stevan Jovetic, Borja Valero, Juan Cuadrado and Giuseppe Rossi with the signing of Gomez.

Given the claims that the Italian game is struggling, it can only help the outlook in Serie A to have players of the quality of the ex-Stuttgart striker making their way into some of the more unfancied clubs around the peninsula.

While many seem to believe that a concerted run of high finishes for Juve, Milan and Inter would help to regain Italy’s spot in the upper echelons of the European co-efficient standings, the greater spread of talent can only mean good things for those who tune in to the Italian championship each Sunday.

And that’s why the signing of Gomez can only be great news for Italy as well as for Fiorentina.

A man whose 41 goals could well have been enough to claim the Ballon d’Or only 12 months ago had things gone differently for Bayern in their home Champions League final against Chelsea will now be flying the flag of one of Serie A’s less-heralded challengers in the race for the podium.

With Napoli having either Edinson Cavani or a €63m transfer kitty to take them into the new season, Juve boasting an entire new forward line and Mario Balotelli leading Milan for a full campaign, there will be no guarantees for the Viola in terms of their league finish.

However, in Gomez they have as close to a 20-goal guarantee as modern football offers.

The rest of Europe will now be left fighting over the scraps of the striker pool in this summer’s transfer market while Fiorentina pause to give themselves a very worthy pat on the back.

In Mario Gomez, they have snapped up one the summer’s most reliable signings and paid peanuts for the privilege.

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Bale the best in England, Messi the master in Spain – the winners of the world's top 50 individual awards

As the Goal 50 for the 2012-13 season draws ever closer, we review some of the best performers from around the globe over the last 12 months

By Chris Myson

We are now just weeks away from the announcement of the prestigious Goal 50 accolade as we reward the best individual performers of the 2012-13 season.

Since our last Goal 50 was presented in July 2012 to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, there have been a number of other individual prizes handed out across the world.

Below, we list 50 of the most prominent from around the globe.

Award Winner
 Africa-based Player of the Year  Mohamed Aboutrika (Al-Ahly)
 CAF Champions League Golden Boot (2012)  Emmanuel Clottey (Berekum Chelsea)
 African Footballer of the Year  Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
 Africa Cup of Nations Best Player  Jonathan Pitroipa (Burkina Faso)
 Africa Cup of Natons Top Goalscorer (Shared)  E Emenike (NIG)/W Mubarak (GHA)
Award Winner
 Copa Libertadores Best Player (2012) Emerson (Corinthians)
 Copa Libertadores Golden Boot (2012) [Shared] Neymar (Santos)/Matias Alustiza (Deportivo Quito)
 CONCACAF Champions League Best Player Aldo de Nigris (Monterrey)
 MLS MVP Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
 Liga MX Top Goalscorer Christian Benitez (Club America)
Campeonato Brasileiro Golden Boot Fred (Fluminense)
Argentina Primera Division Golden Boot Ignacio Scocco (Newell’s Old Boys)
Canadian Championship Best Player Justin Mapp (Montreal Impact)
Ecuador Serie A Top Goalscorer Narciso Mina (Club America)
Colombia Liga Postobon Golden Boot Robin Ramirez (Deportes Tolima)
Award Winner
 AFC Player of the Year  Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan Hyundai)
 AFC Asian International Player of the Year  Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United)
 AFC Foreign Player of the Year  Rogerinho (Kuwait SC)
 AFC Champions League Best Player  Lee Keun-Ho (Ulsan Hyundai)
 J-League Golden Boot  Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
 K-League Golden Boot  Dejan Damjanovic (FC Seoul)
 A-League Golden Boot  Daniel McBreen (Central Coast Mariners)
 OFC Champions League Golden Ball  Sanni Issa (Ba FC)
Award Winner
Champions League Golden Boot  Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Europa League Golden Boot  Libor Kozak (Lazio)
European Golden Shoe  Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
European Golden Boy  Isco (Malaga)
Premier League Footballer of the Year  Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
PFA Player of the Season  Gareth Bale (Tottenham)
Premier League Golden Boot  Robin van Persie (Manchester United)
Premier League Golden Glove  Joe Hart (Manchester City)
La Liga Player of the Season  Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
La Liga Golden Boot  Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
La Liga Zamora Trophy  Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid)
Serie A Golden Boot  Edinson Cavani (Napoli)
Bundesliga Player of the Season  Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
Bundesliga Golden Boot  Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen)
Ligue 1 Player of the Season  Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris Saint-Germain)
Ligue 1 Golden Boot  Zlatan Ibrahmovic (Paris Saint-Germain)
Russian Premier League Golden Boot (Shared)  Wanderson (Krasnodar)/Y Movsisyan (Spartak)
Eredivisie Player of the Year  Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Eredivisie Golden Boot  Wilfried Bony (Vitesse)
Scotland PFA Player of the Year  Michael Higdon (Motherwell)
Award Winner
 Fifa Ballon d’Or  Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
 Confederations Cup Golden Ball  Neymar (Brazil)
 Confederations Cup Golden Boot  Fernando Torres (Spain)
 Confederations Cup Golden Glove  Julio Cesar (Brazil)
 Club World Cup Player of the Tournament  Cassio (Corinthians)
 Club World Cup Golden Boot  Hisato Sato (Sanfrecce Hiroshima)
 Fifa Puskas Award  Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce)

As ever when it comes to individual recognition, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will feature prominently in any consideration for honours.

Messi was the winner of the Ballon d’Or last year, while he was also named as the top player in Spain. His goalscoring exploits saw him win the Pichichi Trophy and the European Golden Shoe in what was another prolific year for the Argentine.

Ronaldo may have been outshone when it came to those honours but the Portuguese star did outscore Messi 12 to eight to pick up the Champions League Golden Boot as both Real Madrid and Barcelona reached the semi-finals.

Bayern Munich were the team of the season in Europe with their treble success and it was winger Franck Ribery who was voted player of the year in Germany by his fellow professionals.

Gareth Bale picked up the major individual prizes in England after a tremendous campaign for Tottenham, while it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scooped up Player of the Season and top goalscorer honours in France.

In Italy, Edinson Cavani’s 29 league goals were enough to earn him the Serie A Golden Boot.

From South America, Neymar is perhaps the top candidate for Goal 50 recognition leading up to the announcement of the award. The attacking star may be wearing Barcelona colours from next season but made his mark in 2012-13 for Santos and Brazil.

He tied for the Golden Boot in the 2012 Copa Libertadores and went on to win the Golden Ball at the Confederations Cup – scoring some spectacular goals along the way – to round off an impressive 12 months.

International team-mate Julio Cesar was voted as the top goalkeeper at the Confeds while another colleague Fred was top scorer in the Brazilian league as his 20 domestic goals led Fluminense to the title.

Ignacio Scocco was in fine goalscoring form in Argentina, while Hisato Sato and Lee Keun-Ho were amongst the standout performers in Asia.

Gomez thanks 'best club in the world' Bayern

The 27-year-old has thanked players and supporters alike as he prepares to leave the club to join Fiorentina

Mario Gomez has issued a heartfelt thank you to former club Bayern Munich as he prepares for life with new club Fiorentina.

The Germany international inked a four-year-deal with the Serie A club just a month after completing a remarkable treble with the European champions, and he admitted he will leave the club with something of a heavy heart.

“Dear fans, it is time to announce that I’ll be leaving the club with a weeping and a laughing eye,” he posted on his official Facebook page.

“I would like to thank you fans and of course my team-mates, the staff and all the people at Bayern for the sensational support you gave me.

“It was a great time at the best club in the world. I am very grateful for the great experience that I could made here in these four years.”

“Now begins a new chapter for me and I look forward to joining my new club Fiorentina, as well as the city, the country, the language and the culture… and of course the delicious food.

“I will be still very connected to Munich and this great club and wish the team all of the best and much success. I’m sure they will remain the best team in the world with this great coach next year.

“Once again many thanks, especially to fans. Your Mario.”

Bayern confirm Gomez will join Fiorentina

The club have agreed a deal in principle with the Viola and the move will be finalised in the coming days

Bayern Munich have announced an agreement in principle has been reached with Fiorentina over the transfer of Mario Gomez.

The Germany international struggled for regular first-team football at the Allianz Arena last season after losing his starting berth to team-mate Mario Mandzukic.

The move will be officially completed within the next couple of days following talks on Monday between Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Viola president Andrea Della Valle.

 “It was the desire of Mario Gomez to leave Bayern Munich for Florence. We have now complied with his wish,” Rummenigge told the club’s official website.

“He has made a major contribution to two German championships and two DFB Pokal victories. The highlight was of course the Champions League victory and winning the treble last season.

“I would like to thank him for his Bayern performances. On behalf of the club, I wish him luck and success in Florence!”

Gomez became the most expensive player in Bundesliga history when he signed for Bayern from Stuttgart in 2009 for €30 million. Since then Javi Martinez and Mario Gotze – both Bayern players – have surpassed that milestone.

Gomez played 174 games for Bayern, scoring 113 goals.

The striker becomes Fiorentina’s eighth acquisition this summer having landed among others, goalkeeper Gustavo Munua; defender Marcos Alonso; and midfielders Massimo Ambrosini, Juan Cuadardo and Joaquin.

BREAKING NEWS: Bayern confirm Gomez will join Fiorentina

The club have agreed a deal in principle with the Viola and the move will be finalised within the next couple of days

Bayern Munich forward Mario Gomez has agreed in principle a move to Fiorentina, according to the club’s official website.

The Germany international struggled for regular first-team football at the Allianz Arena last season after losing his place to team-mate Mario Mandzukic.

The move will be officially completed within the next couple of days following talks on Monday between Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the Viola president Andrea Della Valle.

 “It was the desire of Mario Gomez to leave Bayern Munich to Florence. We have now complied with his wish,” Rummenigge told the club’s official website.

“He has thus made a major contribution to two German championships and two DFB Pokal victories. The highlight was of course the Champions League victory and winning the treble last season.

“I would like to thank him for his performances for Bayern. On behalf of Bayern, I wish him luck and success in Florence!”

Gomez became the most expensive player in Bundesliga history when he signed for Bayern from Stuttgart in 2009 for €30 million. Since then Javi Martinez and Mario Gotze – both Bayern players – have surpassed that milestone.

Gomez played 174 games for Bayern, scoring 113 goals.

The striker becomes Fiorentina’s eighth acquisition this summer having landed among others, goalkeeper Gustavo Munua; defender Marcos Alonso; and midfielders Massimo Ambrosini, Juan Cuadardo and Joaquin.