It may feel like ancient history by now, but if you harken back to the summer, you might recall the protracted nature of the Salih Uçan transfer. Unlike most transfers, there was no three or four way battle for his signature, it was always meant to be Roma. But, for a variety of reasons, the deal dragged on; first the fee was insufficient, then it was the payment schedule, then it was loan vs buy, or loan with an option to buy. Whatever the case was, there was a reason Roma persisted to begin with; the kid is quite good. Whether he's Zidane or Toni Kroos or a taller, silkier Miralem Pjanic, Uçan's ceiling is as high as they come.
While we saw a few glimpses during the summer tour, Uçan has been nowhere to be seen this fall, even as Roma's injury woes multiply by the day (Granted, he's had injuries of his own, but we haven't heard word one about his fitness, his return or his possible role in the short term). But rather than turning to the Turkish Lionel Richie, Roma are once more looking abroad, specifically at Manchester City midfielder James Milner, who is off to a flying start with the Citizens, completing nearly 88% of his passes and creating more than three chances per match. The oft mentioned Adrien Rabiot's name has once again resurfaced with a move to Roma as well.
Rabiot, who you may recall was reportedly signed, sealed, and delivered this summer, has yet to feature for PSG this season. Combine that with his pending free agency, and the tea leaves seem to indicate Rabiot isn't long for the City of Lights. Rabiot's men reportedly met Roma's men earlier this week to lay the groundwork for a €4m January move. This may or may not have been a secret meeting, so let's keep it on the DL for the time being.
If Rabiot's presence alone didn't make Uçan redundant, throwing Milner's name onto the pile certainly doesn't bode well for Uçan's immediate future in Roma. That is, unless, our old pal Zdenek Zeman can work his homespun magic on Uçan, turning the Turk into a near finished product ahead of next summer. And, hey, wouldn't you know it, that's precisely what is being reported this morning. Football Italia is reporting that Roma are considering shuffling Uçan off to Sardinia to learn under ZZ's tutelage for the remainder of the Serie A season.
The benefits to this move are obvious, Uçan would still receive Serie A seasoning and would only stand to gain from Zeman's attack minded schemes and intense training regimen. The only question we are left to ask is simply this: assuming Milner is too expensive and not looking to move abroad, which youngster could actually help Roma more this season, Uçan or Rabiot?
While Rabiot has a world of potential, his addition, to say nothing of Milner, doesn't quite add up, beyond the simple stockpiling of somewhat redundant assets; a model which we're still not certain Roma can afford to follow. With James Pallotta's stated desire to keep Kevin Strootman at all costs, and considering the lengths they went to obtaining Uçan in the first place, throwing Rabiot into the mix means the future of one or more of Roma's midfielders may suddenly be in doubt.
So, what do we think, who can actually help Roma more in the here and now, Uçan or Rabiot?