MILAN - Fiorentina are poised to bring back banished striker Adrian Mutu in a bid to arrest their slide but the Romanian will be rusty if selected for Wednesday's Serie A game with fellow underachievers Genoa.
The troubled Romanian, who had a fight with a barman last year just as he was returning from a nine-month drugs ban, stormed out of training earlier this month after being upset that a move to Cesena was being blocked.
He was then omitted from the first team squad despite the 13th-placed side having very few other attacking options and told he would only be sold abroad.
No move was forthcoming and he parted company with his agent before issuing an apology which led Fiorentina's board to say they were close to ending his exile with the January transfer window almost closed.
One thing is for sure, Fiorentina desperately need an extra spark after losing 2-0 at Lazio on Saturday in the latest in a string of poor displays which contrast markedly with last term's run to the Champions League last 16.
"We are in an ugly situation," said coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who succeeded new Italy boss Cesare Prandelli at the Florence club in the close-season but has had to contend with injuries and a lack of spending power.
"We got ourselves in this mess and we've got to get ourselves out of it."
Genoa, who made several ambitious signings before the season, have instead been weakened in the January window and face a season of obscurity just like Fiorentina.
Genoa's city rivals Sampdoria are in a similar state after letting top strikers Antonio Cassano and Giampaolo Pazzini join AC Milan and Inter Milan respectively last month.
Fellow mid-table team Cagliari, who visit Samp on Wednesday, have suffered transfer angst as well with Italy World Cup goalkeeper Federico Marchetti asking to move in July only to be banished from the squad much like Mutu.
A move to Genoa in January looked likely but Marchetti now looks set to stay in Sardinia until the end of the season after peace broke out with owner Massimo Cellino, but whether he will make his first appearance of the campaign is unclear.
Leaders Milan host Lazio on Tuesday without a raft of injured and suspended midfielders while fourth-placed champions Inter visit bottom side Bari on Thursday buoyed by Pazzini's double in Sunday's 3-2 comeback win over Palermo.comments