Nobody expected Carlos Sánchez to stay in Florence this year. With a glut of defensive midfielders, the Colombian was never going to muscle his way into a significant role. Instead, he’ll return to the Premier League with London West Ham, where he should get a chance to play some serious minutes for Manuel Pellegrini’s team. At just €4.5 million, it’s a bargain signing for the Hammers, although the fee does represent a €1.5 million profit for the Tuscans.
Although he’s technically been a Fiorentina player since joining from relegated Aston Villa with Jordan Veretout in 2016, we saw very little of him last year. After being banished to the bench by Stefano Pioli, the 32-year-old asked for a move away to secure his place with los Cafeteros ahead of the World Cup, and thus ended up with Espanyol. The year before, though, he was one of very few positives under Paulo Sousa, who recast him as a solid member of a three-man defense.
La Roca will leave Fiorentina with 2 goals, an assist, and 10 yellow cards in his 52 appearances. However, it’s his infectious personality that we might miss more than anything; his Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages are decent reflections of the joy he brings to the pitch. The fact that he’s willing to go to England of all places following his World Cup showing demonstrates the courage and positivity that we already knew he’s got. His reaction in Spain after learning about Davide Astori was also pretty moving.