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Sunday February 18 2018
Roma revel in Turkish delight

Roma seal an important win, but it’s the Giallorossi’s Turkish delight who stole the show yet again, writes Jack Stevens

Cengiz Under is a player who currently goes by the tune of four goals and two assists in the last three games, not bad for a Turkish 20-year-old Serie A debutant. With Eusebio Di Francesco successfully navigating the storm of scrutiny he endured over the holiday period, he will be delighted to enjoy calm while Roma’s newfound love steals the show.

As soon as Under’s rocket-propelled shot whipped past the helpless Albano Bizzarri, the collective gasp from Giallorossi supporters is something they may revel in getting used to. Under’s start has been nothing less than outstanding. With Monchi, the man who unearthed Roma’s crown jewel undoubtedly basking in the fruits of his labour, Under has proved why Roma can expect a stream of such talents from the Spaniard’s scouting system.

Even though the squad has been moulded somewhat perfectly for Di Francesco, Monchi was brought to Roma to keep their finances in order. Fattening the cattle for market is his skill set, and while January’s Edin Dzeko saga is now a faded memory, fans know that any inkling that Roma is a finishing school for Europe’s Elite would be grossly incorrect.

Cengiz Under may well be spinning Monchi’s eyes with dollar signs, but the reality is that the director of sport signals a new era for Roma, an era which is exactly what they need at this present time. Finding value in an era when the actual transfer fee has become somewhat arbitrary is invaluable for clubs existing outside of the mega rich. Under represents the advantage of Roma acknowledging their place in European football and exploiting that.

Tactically, Di Francesco’s switch to a 4-2-3-1 has succeeded in freshening up a side which had begun to look stale. By simply switching the tip of the midfield diamond, he has managed to spark an upturn, one which is to the delight of Roma’s best player Radja Nainggolan.

Under Spaletti, Nainggolan’s positioning in the attacking midfield strata was something he reveled in, and Di Francesco’s subtle move to encourage a more positive, front foot approach has breathed new life into Roma.

A goal glut of eight in their last three fixtures have put Roma in the driving seat for Champions League qualification, and if Di Francesco’s smart switch indicated anything it is that he has dispelled any notion than he is out of his depth.

Ahead of a tough trip to Eastern Europe in midweek to take on Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk, Roma have enjoyed the perfect preparation. A refreshing tactical switch which has coincided with the emergence of the phenomenon Under has seen Roma thrust out of their dip. With Cengiz red hot and Di Francesco enjoying a second wind, a place in the Champions League quarter finals looks a real prospect.

For now, Roma should bask in the hope Cengiz Under has inspired. He may only be 20, but Roma will be thankful Monchi took a chance on the Turkish gem, who looks destined for greatness.

Have your say...
It's good o see AS Roma doing well. I hope they can build their new Stadio n I hope that they can continue 2 compete in Europe cause Italy really needs it at the moment. They may not or ever b a mega-rich club but if they're smart n Monchi can repeat his Sevilla success then they can at least compete! A new Stadio, a good scouting network n some good Italian youth prospects should b able 2 see them through.
on the 19th February, 2018 at 1:13pm
In a few years we could be on level like Juve but not until the stadio is built.

Unfortunately FFP is our crutch & we'll have to manage our finances carefully every mercato & finding future stars in recent years has really helped us out financially. Look at Salah just this season at Liverpool.

We also have, for me the best GK in the world, Alisson. PSG & Liverpool are already admirers and willing to offer £65m in the summer.

Unfortunately Roma will sell but things will get better eventually.
on the 18th February, 2018 at 1:23pm
Under should have a new contract with at least 100 mil exit clause and should not be sold to Juventus. Monchi, Palotta wake up!
on the 18th February, 2018 at 10:45am
He has the talent, but the problem is, if he keeps playing well, he won't last 5 minutes at Roma.

They are gladly playing the role of a supermarket, and it's depressing to see them as a feeder club to the likes of Liverpool - who aren't much good themselves.
on the 18th February, 2018 at 10:34am

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