Fiorentina added further reinforcements to the defense yesterday with the free signing of Martín Cáceres. The 32 year old Uruguayan has enjoyed a decorated career, winning silverware with Barcelona and (sigh) Juventus, and should be an excellent backup to every position along the backline, bringing toughness and experience.
Finding a 93-time capped Uruguay international for free this late in the window usually means that something’s a little bit wonky, and in this case, it’s Cáceres’ health. While nobody questions his excellence on the pitch—pace, anticipation, strength, intelligence, fearlessness—keeping him there has proved to be difficult: he’s missed chunks of time over the past few seasons due to a variety of injuries, including a tear to his Achilles tendon in 2016.
While he may not be quite as explosive as he once was, his vast knowledge should make him a perfect depth piece. He’ll complement both Germán Pezzella and Nikola Milenković in the middle and is perfectly capable of filling in at either fullback spot as well; seeing the struggles this team has had at leftback of late, that could prove critical. He’s also been praised for his professionalism and should provide a good influence on a young team.
Hopefully we don’t see too much of him outside the odd appearance when the Viola are leading by 3 goals or a spot start in the Coppa Italia or against the likes of Lecce. If he mostly stays on the bench, it means that the Viola defense is doing fine: the youngsters have stepped up and nobody’s injured. If anyone’s counting on him to start 38 games, though, it could turn ugly.