Roma headed into the hilly outskirts of Rome, towards the beautiful vacation town of Frosinone, just 11 days ago. A stadium backdrop enjoyed by emperors past and the wealthy of today, it seemed the sun was shining for the season debut of Salih Uçan; with Miralem Pjanić injured, Salih surely seemed the logical choice, in all faith towards Rudi Garcia’s 4-3-3.
Speculation boiled that week, would it be Salih, or would Totti be thrown into the playmaker role of a 4-2-3-1? On one hand, Frank would get some playing time under his belt; on the other, Salih would get some much needed playing time, and faith from the coach. After all, Salih hardly played last season, strangely nonetheless, due to what we have seen so far from him. This summer’s tour, he was one of the protagonists in the midfield’s creative role, so he would surely be getting some time within Roma’s first 5 matches, right? Right? Wrong. Rudi altered his cement tactics to a 4-2-3-1, and Salih would be riding the bench. As the game past 7pm, the sun was setting over the stadium, and a shadow consumed Salih Uçan’s hopes of getting a worthwhile run in the match. 2 matches since, and a heavily rotated squad post-Barcelona, the young Turk still hasn’t played.
Still just 21 years old, he is no secret back home in Turkey. A record transfer fee for a Turkish youth, Uçan joined Fenerbahçe for 1.4 million euros in the summer of 2012. Just 2 years later, our Walter Sabatini snapped him up, offering Fenerbahçe an offer they couldn’t refuse: 4 million euros for a 2 year loan, option to buy for 11 million euros at the end of this season (2015/16). He is a player Sabatini surely felt strong about, which shows that it can only be Rudi who is holding him at bay.
Atalanta and Bologna tried their best to take Salih away from Rome on loan this past summer, but Rudi denied it. Could Rudi be telling the truth, that Uçan was given limited playing time last season due to his recurring injuries? There is some truth to that, I do believe. In press conferences though, Uçan has been ambivalent when asked of his future. His tone is that of a player who isn’t being given confidence, or who feels beneficial to the squad. If he continues to impress in training and matches this season, then surely he should be rewarded with the match time and trust that he deserves. If he is given less, then Uçan could be another flipped investment on the ole belt of Walker Texas Sabatini Ranger. However, it is truly in Roma’s best interests to keep him in the capital. All the makings of playmaker in a 3-man midfield, and overall quality player, it’s Roma’s time to keep calm, and Salih Uçan.