Signing young players in order to cultivate and then exploit their talents is about as fundamental a concept as there is in football. It’s up to the directors and scouts to find the players but once they're signed, sealed and delivered the coaching staff must attend to their footballing development with patience and precision. Most of the time, you can chart a linear path for a prospect's development—late sub appearances, starts in early round cup fixtures, followed by a spring loan—but every so often Roma signs a young player and keeps them planted on the bench with no clearly delineated developmental path—your Salih Uçans and Daniel Fuzatos.
With only 219 minutes under his belt thus far, Mert Çetin was in danger of going down that same meandering path. Çetin certainly looks the part of an imposing and physical Kostas Manolas-style defender, but for a variety of reasons he just hasn't been able to break into the lineup behind Chris Smalling, Gianluca Mancini and Federico Fazio. Indeed, his first appearance came at full-back.
Çetin looked decent enough during his limited run (apart from his red card against Napoli) but he's still too raw and inexperienced to really be thrown in the deep-end, leading many to speculate about his immediate future in Serie A; an issue that may have just corrected itself.
Earlier today, sources in the Italian press reported that Roma and Hellas Verona have hooked up on a loan with an option to buy deal for the 23-year-old Turkish defender. According to these reports, Çetin will make the switch to Verona next season on loan, with the Mastiffs holding an option to buy. Word around the campfire suggests that Paulo Fonseca is high on Çetin so Roma have reportedly retained a buyback clause for their mini Manolas.
With Verona set to lose a defender of their own—20-year-old center-back Marash Kumbulla to Lazio—Çetin could conceivably slide right into his spot next season. Under Ivan Juric's leadership, Verona have become a solid mid-table team, so this could be the perfect landing spot for Çetin; a place where he'll gain meaningful minutes.
Chris Smalling has been remarkable for Roma, but Gianluca Mancini will still need a long-term partner at the back and if Çetin seizes this opportunity, Fonseca's back-line should be golden.