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Will Carlos Salcedo Fit In At Fiorentina?

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Salcedo is off to Europe but what is he stepping into?

Soccer: CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Finals Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Salcedo is officially a Fiorentina player, for the next year at least. His move to Serie A involves a 1 year loan with an option to buy for an estimated €7million. He said in his press conference that he hopes to impress the club enough for them to exercise the buy option. There has only been a few Mexicans to have played in Serie A, El Kaiser was the most recent. In order to get a better idea on what “El Titan” is stepping into, we reached out to our sister blog, Viola Nation. Staff writer Nolan Berlin was kind enough to give us some insight about Fiorentina.

FMF SoM: Was the move to sign Carlos Salcedo as unexpected to you as it was to everyone else?

Nolan: It was known that Fiorentina were looking to invest in a young defender, although it appeared eyes were primarily on Argentina and Brazil. There was a lot of suspicions that the club would pull off a move out of nowhere based on sporting director Pantaleo Corvino's track record, but Salcedo was not among the players talked about. As far as I am aware, he was never mentioned by the local media until yesterday, and the club has a limited history in looking at the Mexican league for reinforcements. When I first heard that the move was completed, I assumed it was a hoax considering how slowly Fiorentina has moved on other transfers this summer.

FMF SoM: How are Fiorentina supporters feeling about the transfer? Do they feel its a good move by the club or an unneeded expense?

Nolan: Although I don't think most fans know much about Salcedo, the responses have generally been positive. Most of us have been desperate for more young defensive prospects who could potentially grow into starters, and Salcedo comes with a reputation of being a physical, athletic stopper which is something the team needs more of. After a few other failed deals for similarly priced young defenders, I suspect most Fiorentina fans will be looking forward to seeing Salcedo in action.

FMF SoM: Do you see Salcedo seeing playing time this season? If so, where: Serie A, Coppa Italia or Europa League?

Nolan: I think this will be a good opportunity for both parties. Although Fiorentina has brought in a lot of defensive backup this summer and it is unlikely Salcedo will displace the starting defensive pairing of Gonzalo Rodriguez and Davide Astori, the other options are journeymen with limited upside. Furthermore, coach Paulo Sousa often plays with a 3 man backline and if Salcedo can adapt to that formation, his athleticism would be an asset. Realistically he will likely get his first chances in the Europa League and Coppa Italia, but Sousa has a tendency to rotate players during even league play. If he struggles to adapt (I know he has a tendency to obtain cards, which could be an issue in Serie A), he might be limited to cup runs, but the club has one eye on the future right now and there will be pressure to give Salcedo his chances. One thing that may be helpful to him is how many Spanish speakers are on the team, including the United States born Giuseppi Rossi.

FMF SoM: What are the expectations for Fiorentina this season?

Nolan: Generally the goal is to finish in the top 3 to qualify for the Champion's League, and while that is still the ambition, there's not much optimism right now, and so a fight for Europe League qualification is more likely. The team has looked bad in their first match and throughout preseason, so the first step is to just get back on track. Last year the club didn't take either the Coppa Italia or Europa League seriously, but with additional depth this year there might be a focus on the cups if they get off to a strong start.

FMF SoM: For people who don’t know much about Fiorentina, how would you describe the club?

Nolan: Besides the iconic purple kits, Fiorentina is probably more well known for great attackers like Batistuta, Baggio, and Toni than it is for defenders. The club tends to identify with a more finesse focused, attacking identity than some other Italian clubs. Although not one of the biggest clubs in Italy, Fiorentina has a proud history and one of the most vocal fanbases in the peninsula, which combined with the relative small size of Florence and its strong cultural identity means players tend to either feel at home or get chased out of town fairly quickly. The current team is known for its passing skills and midfield more than anything else.

Juventus FC v ACF Fiorentina - Serie A Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

Any transfer abroad brings its own complications: is the culture/league too different? Does the coach even want Salcedo? If he does, will he keep his job long enough to play him? But on the surface, this move looks good for him. He is going to a club that is in need of defensive players and will be in several competitions. Opportunities will come and Carlos will need to take advantage of them. I look forward to including him in future Mexican Abroad Roundups.

Next question fans have after a Mexican player moves abroad is how to watch him. In the US, Serie A has a TV deal with beIN Sports. Games are also shown on beIN Sports en Español and streamed through their website. The season already started for Fiorentina last week with a loss to league title favorite, Juventus. They start their Europa League Group games in mid-September and Coppa Italia games in December. Keep it posted here and Viola Nation as Salcedo begins his European journey.

Was this a good transfer for Salcedo and for Chivas?