While Roma is no stranger to purchasing intriguing, young talent and making a grand spectacle in the process, the acquisition of Cengiz Ünder has been markedly different. From its inception to his arrival, the celebration, such as it is, has been rather understated. Whether this was by design or dumb luck no one knows, but considering we had no idea Ünder was on their radar a mere three of four days ago, it’s not really surprising.
However, now that Ünder has arrived in Rome we can expect the plaudits to start flowing.
As you can see, Ünder touched a couple hours of ago with his entourage and little else, though someone was prescient enough to bring the de rigueur Roma scarf for the always awkward airport gate photo. Ünder will reportedly take his medical examination tomorrow at Villa Stuart, home of Italy’s finest collection of ACLs.
Upon his arrival, Ünder said simply “I am happy. A new adventure begins for me.” For Roma, this adventure will cost them €15 million, with 20% of any future sale going to his soon to be former club Basaksehir; a small price to play for a pretty well-heralded prospect many have likened to Paulo Dybala.
Straight away, your mind is probably drifting towards the last two über prospects Roma signed, Juan Iturbe and later Gerson, but Ünder stands a better chance for success simply because of the man who is now guiding his career, Eusebio Di Francesco. EDF’s proclivity for playing and investing heavily in young players stands to not only benefit Ünder, who will need all the help he can get adjusting to life in a new league, but also Gerson and Luca and Lorenzo Pellegrini, among others.
In the short run we’ll simply have to see what role EDF envisions for Ünder—is he merely an attacking option or will he be the much vaunted replacement for Mohamed Salah?
The answer to that question will have enormous bearing on his chances for success.
As a quick aside, I was once at the Cincinnati airport when who should come strolling through the gates? None other than Pete Rose, the Francesco Totti of the Queen City—it was bedlam.