Fiorentina have unloaded another pair of youngsters to Serie B (albeit in a move that flew under the radar until I noticed it just now). This time, it’s the Uruguayan duo of Jaime Báez and Andrés Schetino, who will spend the year with Cosenza. The Lupi have clearly developed a strong bond with the Viola of late, as promising young goalkeeper Michele Cerofolini will also turn out for the Lupi until season’s end.
Now 23 years old, Jaime Báez is already running out of chances in Florence. He cost the Viola €2.3 million back in 2015 when he joined from Uruguay’s Juventud de las Piedras. He’s yet to make an appearance with the Fiorentina senior team, instead spending the past three years at Livorno, Spezio, and Pescara. He’ll need to beat out forwards Gennaro Tutino, Leonardo Pérez, Matteo di Piazza, Riccardo Maniero, Enrico Bearzotti, and Allan Baclet, which is a reasonably daunting task without looking at his history on loan.
That history is distressingly familiar and repetitive. First, his new manager, impressed with the attacker’s pace, skill, and overall athleticism, immediately inserted him into the starting lineup. Second, the lack of results would prompt the manager to use him off the bench, reasoning that he’d be the perfect sub to bring on and unleash against a tired opposing defense. Third, the lack of results in that role would lead to Báez’ eventual exile to the unused substitutes list, and then to the stands. It’s always been the right choice because Báez’ decision making in the final third and movement simply aren’t there at this stage. He may be a late bloomer, but it’s hard to imagine him ever contributing for Fiorentina.
Andrés Schetino, in contrast, has an easier path to playing time, albeit only because Cosenza is needier in the central midfield; his path to minutes in the holding role is blocked by Napoli loanee Luca Palmiero and former Ternana man Ivan Varone. Schetino’s versatility—he can play in central defense or midfield—is in his favor here, but not a whole lot else is, unfortunately.
Much like his compatriot, Schetino has taken loan moves away from Florence since signing for €3.5 million from CA Fénix in January 2016. He didn’t play a minute at Livorno that spring and fell out of favor with the Sevilla B-team the year after. He had a decent showing at Danish second-division outfit Esbjerg last year but they opted to send him back to Florence, which probably isn’t a great sign.
Both Báez and Schetino are relics of the Daniele Pradè era, when the former Viola DS missed on nearly all of his youth signings in a big way. Dropping €5.8 million on a pair of South American second-division teenagers and signing them both until 2020 looks worse and worse every year. Perhaps this is the year everything finally clicks for them, but I can’t believe it until I see it.