From Marquinhos to Toloi, Gyömber to Bianda, Roma comes up with another CB signing full of question marks. Unlike our latest "mystery CB" William Bianda, who had reportedly been in some other major European clubs' transfer lists around the time we signed him from RC Lens, Mert Çetin had zero to none international knowledge. Word, he wasn't even well-known in Turkey enough, if you asked who Mert Çetin was to ten football fans in Turkey, probably eight or nine of them, including me, would tell you about the Galatasaray translator who also has the same name and surname. (strangely, the translator Çetin also started his career at Gençlerbirliği) Major Turkish clubs such as Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray and Beşiktaş, and reportedly Lille started circling around him after March/April '19. Mert means "brave" and Çetin means "tough", and he also has another name "Yıldırım" which means "thunder". If you ask me, his full name is badass and confident as fuck for a defender.
1997-born Çetin's birthplace is another capital, Ankara. He is most probably born and bred there, since his both clubs Hacettepe and Gençlerbirliği are Ankara-located clubs. With his 189cm tall and noticably strong figure, he offers physicality and hustle to our defence. Don't get fooled though, unlike our also tall-and-strong defender Federico Fazio, Çetin has quite good pace, too. I watched some of his games from last year before writing this post due to my lack of knowledge about him, and noticed that he was usually trying to make the first move (with a decent timing that has small flaws) before his partner in the CB duo. I also noticed that he wasn't the best when it came to playing with the ball, but that wasn't causing him issues in the Turkish second division where even the midfielders don't know how to properly use the ball. He was a vital member of the Gençlerbirliği squad which pretty much dominated the league, alongside Denizlispor who finished second, from beginning to the end, and finished the season in the first place. Talking about league matches, Çetin played 90 minutes in 23 games (the league is 34-week long FYI), once subbed off after 22 minutes after an injury that made him miss three games, and 8 minutes in a game which was his comeback after a three-week absent period for whatever reason (not the injury I have mentioned). He scored once in a meaningless game that was played after Gençlerbirliği already secured promotion, and got booked only four times.
Mert Çetin could be another Gyömber or Bianda (who obviously is still too young, but didn't provide anything to us yet), or he could pull a Hos' and become an unexpected Manolas replacement. He's one of the two Turkish newcomers to Serie A, other one being Sassuolo's Mert Müldür (I've mentioned three Mert's in three paragraphes, but that name isn't actually THAT common in Turkey). Centre-back is a position that rarely gets cameos in late minutes for a young player to make an impression on its coaches and staff members, so Çetin must put that impression in training sessions and wait for an injury crisis, which is pretty much possible to happen at a club as fortunate as us, or a relatively easy game (wait, do they even exist?). If he can perform near the level of Juventus' Merih Demiral, Petrachi might get his statue in front of the Stadio della Roma after an already impressive enough mercato.