For every Edin Dzeko or Hakim Ziyech—the transfers we cover from cradle to the grave—there are multiple under the radar signings that, for a variety of reasons, we simply cannot or do not devote as much attention to; Mert Çetin was one of those signings. Not much was known about Çetin when he joined Roma last season, but fans were optimistic that the club would strike Turkish League gold once again. With not much of a book on Çetin, all we could really do was point out the surface similarities between his signing and that of Cengiz Ünder, whom Roma plucked from Istanbul Başakşehir in 2017 to great success.
The problem with that line of reasoning was that Çetin was coming from a smaller and less successful Turkish club, and unlike Ünder and his lightning quick feet, Çetin didn't have one particularly marketable skill to sell to his new fanbase. In fact, so little was known about Çetin that our initial piece concluded by covering the stomach churning Dejan Lovren rumors we were bombarded with last summer.
And when the season started with Çetin planted on the bench until late October, Roma's latest experiment with a Turkish footballer looked more like Salih Uçan and less like Ünder. While Çetin eventually broke through the ranks and made a handful of appearances through November and the early parts of the winter, they were either nothing to write home about or complete disasters (see his red card against Napoli from November 2nd).
Still, despite an almost complete lack of playing time, Çetin seemed like he had a bit of Kostas Manolas in him, profiling as the sort of defender who covers his lack of exquisite technique with unbridled athleticism. There still isn't much on which to judge Çetin, but his size, strength and speed were certainly enough to pique our interest.
And in order to add a bit of seasoning to that package, Roma have officially loaned the 23-year-old defender to Hellas Verona for the 2020-2021 season.
Mert Cetin has joined Hellas Verona on loan.— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) August 24, 2020
Best of luck for this new challenge, @mertcetin97! #ASRoma
According to the club, the loan runs through the entirety of the 2020-2021 season, though Verona do possess an option to make the deal permanent, in which case Roma would retain a buy-back option. In essence, this is your standard one-year-show-us-what-you-got type of loan. There’s no word on how long that buyback option remains in effect, but it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see Çetin spend multiple seasons in Verona before returning to Roma.
Verona finished a surprising ninth place this season thanks in large part to their defensive effort, so Çetin is certainly joining the right squad and should find playing time easy to come by, particularly if, as expected, Verona sell young Albanian phenom Marash Kumbulla.
So, best of luck Mert. Hopefully we'll see you back in these spaces in 2021!