Thanks to the dual emergences of Rick Karsdorp and Leonardo Spinazzola over the past 18 to 24 months, full-back, once a perpetual cause for concern for Roma, has suddenly become a source of strength. Gone are the days when the club would search high and low for someone, anyone, to take the position by the reins. With both players rounding back into form, Roma's full-back tandem is among the best in the league.
While that's all well and good, neither Karsdorp nor Spinazzola have been the picture of health throughout their careers, so Roma would be wise to hedge their bets at the position. With Nicola Zalewski and Matías Viña waiting in the wings behind Spinazzola on the left, Roma has their Spinazzola insurance all squared away, but the options behind Karsdorp on the right are... non-existent.
With Bryan Reynolds set to spend another year on loan in Belgium, José Mourinho’s options behind Karsdorp are worryingly thin, but there is hope on the horizon. According to multiple reports out of Italy, including Sky Sports among several others, Roma is close to signing Lille right-back Zeki Çelik, with sources inside the negotiation confident the deal will be closed this weekend.
Celik, a 25-year-old Turkish international, left his homeland behind when he signed with Lille in the summer of 2018 on an €800,000 deal. Since arriving in France, Çelik hasn't quite lived up to the hype, but with 8 goals and 13 assists in 143 appearances in all competitions, he's been a steady presence for Les Dogues.
And according to Sky, the Corriere della Serra, and other outlets, Roma and Lille are making progress on a potential permanent transfer for Çelik. With Lille holding firm to an €8.5 million request and Roma offering a solid €6 million in exchange, speculation holds the two clubs may simply meet in the middle and wrap up this transfer this weekend.
Çelik may not be blessed with Karsdorp's playmaking ability, but he's strong, aggressive with the ball at his feet, willing to push the ball up the pitch, and isn't bashful in the area either. Throw in his tenacious defending and he may be an ideal complement to Karsdorp, while also possessing a similar enough skill set that he could potentially push Karsdorp for playing time next season.