We, the collective Roma rumor mongerers of the internet, may have jumped the gun a few weeks ago when we reported that the Giallorossi had already signed Salih Uçan from Fenerbahce for €10m. As it turns out, the main components of that rumor were all correct; we just let them slip a bit prematurely. It happens to all blogs at some point in their life, there's no need to be embarrassed...we can do better next time, baby, I promise.
The word on the streets of Rome is that young Uçan has been signed, sealed and delivered to Roma, although in a vastly different form than originally reported. What was initially a €10m straight transfer, with Roma paying a 10% dowry to Fenerbache on any future transfer, is now reportedly a two year loan with an option to buy.
Signing a young midfielder is always a gamble, but when you factor in Uçan's initial €10m price tag, to say nothing of the tactical adjustments required of any player making the move to Serie A, Roma were really rolling the proverbial dice on this deal as originally constituted.
The exact details of this transformed deal haven't been released yet, particularly as Uçan's wages are concerned, but it is believed that Roma will fork over €2m per year for the life of the loan, while retaining an €11m option to buy, potentially making this a €15m transfer.
But therein lies the genius of this reported move. Where Roma was once taking a ten million Euro gamble, they're now only indebted for only four million over two years, which not only saves them millions, but affords them a two-year window in which they can test Uçan's suitability for Roma and Serie A. If Uçan impresses like many think he can, Roma still hold the option to buy the young midfielder for a further €11m.
Walter Sabatini simultaneously saved his club money, ensured that Fenerbahce would still receive their €15m evaluation of Uçan, and afforded the young midfielder ample opportunity to prove his worth. This has the potential to be a genuine win-win-win deal. Roma saves money in the short term, Uçan has time to develop and Fenerbahce saves face by getting their initial asking price.
In case you had any lingering doubts, this move should erase them; Sabatini is a master of the mercato. Incidentally, if anyone can tell me a keyboard shortcut for the ç, I will be forever in your debt.
Uçan, along with last month's signee, Seydou Keita, brings two new midfielders into the flock, though ones with differently roles and markedly different futures. Keita is a short term, defensive solution, while Uçan should be another building block for the future. In the short run, it will be interesting to see how Rudi Garcia utilizes the young Turkish playmaker. Uçan is known for his ability to play anywhere across a three-man midfield, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility that he, and not Keita, is this year's de facto Rodrigo Taddei, filling in anywhere and everywhere in the center of the park.
Uçan, 20-years-old, is fresh off a Turkish Super Liga title, though to call him an integral contributor is a bit of a stretch, as he only logged 374 league minutes this season. However, as we mentioned when these rumors first broke, Uçan's CV, when we factor in all comps, is pretty impressive.
As a 17-year-old, Uçan was instrumental in Bucaspor's promotion campaign in 2011-2012, making 24 starts, scoring one goal and dishing out three assists. Uçan didn't take long to adapt to the top flight either, scoring three goals in only 10 appearances following his transfer to Fenerbahce at the outset of the 2012-2013 season. Uçan may be young, but he hasn't wilted on Turkey's biggest stages, so as far as 20-year-old midfielders go, Uçan may be remarkably well equipped to survive and flourish in Rome.
Without the burden of a relatively hefty transfer fee hanging over his head and being afforded a two year trial period, not to mention joining an established and experienced crew of midfielders, Uçan is entering Roma under the best possible circumstances.