Amidst the more popular rumors for defensive reinforcements this Winter (Marcos Rojo, Juan Jesus, Walter Kannemann, et cetera), Fiorentina have finalized a deal for Igor of SPAL in the range of €8m.
Igor isn’t really your typical defender, given his uncanny propensity to push forward and even score the occasional goal from open play. From what little I’ve seen of him in his young Serie A career, he’s also got some impressively dangerous ball-handling skills for a centre-half. His natural position is on the left side of a center three, but is often seen high up the left side of the pitch creating chances and providing an additional attacking threat. In tandem with Dalbert, you can probably expect to see Igor trading places and holding down the left flank with his fellow Brazilian counterpart.
He’ll likely serve as understudy to Martín Cáceres for the remainder of the campaign, but this is certainly an investment for the future; despite SPAL being in the relegation zone, Igor has shown that he’s been able to keep up after the jump from RB Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. Plus, although RB Salzburg are a club perennially involved in European football, Igor spent all of his time in Austria on loan to fellow viola club Austria Vienna, which makes his successful transition to Serie A even more impressive (and we already know that he looks good in purple).
However, there are a couple concerns that arise out of this transfer. Most notably, Igor fulfills the exact role that Luca Ranieri holds on this squad: a young and promising left-side defender who is expected to break into the starting line-up within the next year or so. Luca has been rumored to go on loan for a few months now, but no deal seems to have materialized. It’ll be interesting to see if that changes in the closing days of the transfer window, but there’s certainly a bit of a logjam here.
This transfer also sounds eerily close to the deal struck on Jacob Rasmussen almost exactly one year ago, where we spent around the same amount for a young defender with only six months of experience in Serie A. In case you haven’t paid attention, Rasmussen made zero appearances for Fiorentina and is currently on loan at German second-division club Erzgebirge Aue. While Rasmussen could certainly still prove valuable to Fiorentina, the current state of affairs doesn’t bode exceedingly well for the young Danish defender’s future with the club.
But—Igor and Rasmussen are very different players, even if they play a similar position. While Igor certainly isn’t a world-beater, there’s ample room for him to become a solid defender in Serie A. This transfer is much more exciting than the rumored Juan Jesus, who likely would’ve commanded much higher wages as well. The Cáceres/Igor/Ranieri hierarchy is something to keep an eye on, but the former SPAL man is definitely a welcome addition to the squad.