Cristiano Biraghi has been quite solid on the left flank for Fiorentina so far this season, but the depth behind him just isn’t there. Maxi Olivera has made just 4 appearances this season and hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory—he was last seen getting absolutely roasted by Manuel Lazzari against SPAL—and there isn’t another leftback on the roster, which leads to the persistent rumors that Pantaleo Corvino is looking for reinforcements. Enter Ulisses Garcia.
Ulisses Alexandre Garcia Lopes (to give him his full dignity) is a Portuguesse-born 21-year-old Swiss U21 international who currently plays for Werder Bremen, which he joined from Grasshopper in 2015. He’s made just 3 appearances with the first team and only one in the Bundesliga; recently-appointed manager Florian Kohfeldt is clearly relying on veteran experience to avoid the drop.
It’s a shame, as Garcia is a pretty solid footballer right now and could well become a very solid footballer in the future with some patience and the right environment. He’s possesses adequate pace, impressive strength, and decent ball skills. He’s good enough going forward to play as the wingback in Kohfeldt’s 3-4-2-1, but his defensive skills still need some polish.
He’d probably be available for a pittance, too, as he seems to have fallen out of the Werderaners’ plans; think somewhere in the €1 million range. The bigger question is whether he’d be a viable solution to the depth problem at leftback: Maxi Olivera isn’t a perfect player, but he’s cheap and more or less adequate. At this stage of his career, Garcia probably doesn’t represent an upgrade, and may not have a high enough ceiling to justify the minutes he’d need to reach his potential. Frankly, we don’t see this one happening, but it is the type of move that’s possible in January.