If it’s the international break that means one thing. No, not pointless friendlies dressed up as a legitimate competition, we’re talking about transfer rumors. While they never really stop, international breaks are to rumor mongers what black Friday is to brick and mortar retailers; it’s their time to shine. And it appears that this season’s Furby, Tickle Me Elmo or...umm...Lincoln Logs is none other than our very own Cengiz Ünder.
When Roma plucked the then 20-year-old Turkish winger from Basaksehir, my initial reaction was not unlike 16-year-old me in any given chemistry class...huh? The kid from the Istanbul club was a bit of an unknown in common circles, but after a few months settling into life in the peninsula, Ünder came to life in the winter of 2018, quickly establishing himself as one of the club’s most potent attacking threats.
So quick was Ünder’s ascension that the world soon took note. Thanks in part to his eight goal and two assist campaign last season (all comps), Ünder soon took his place among the game’s best regarded prospects, being listed by some outlets as the 20th most valuable U21 prospect in the world, joining the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Federico Chiesa, Marcus Rashford, and yes even Malcom.
While that link lists Ünder as a €31.9 million asset, if you believe the latest rumors, Roma could land twice that amount. According to the Corriere dello Sport, Bayern Munich are reportedly interested in Ünder to the tune of nearly €60 million, and will have to fend off the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Arsenal and Manchester City for his services.
Yes, it’s true that this remains just a rumor—an October rumor at that—but when taken with the news that Roma remains some €20 million the red, Ünder’s days in Roman red may be numbered, a point not lost any many of you this past summer:
Who will Roma sell next summer?— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) July 18, 2018
It may be several months before we ultimately find an answer to that poll, but if this past summer was any indication, the club seldom says no to the likes of Bayern. Losing a keeper like Alisson is one thing, but parting with Ünder, who is the inverted winger the club so desperately craved, makes even less tactical sense.
Not being privy to the club’s actual financial records makes it somewhat hard to criticize, but if the shortfall is “only” twenty million, surely they can find another way to scrounge that up than selling Ünder, who may very well be a nine figure player someday soon, but sadly my six years covering the team tells me otherwise.
So long Ünder, we hardly knew thee.