This January transfer window is already set to see a swap deal take place in Italian football. With Leonardo Spinazzola heading off to Inter, Matteo Politano is joining Roma. But that isn’t the only swap deal that might be set to take place. Milan’s Suso and the giallorossi’s Cengiz Under are close to swapping places as well.
Swap deals like these have become commonplace in Calcio in recent years. Very recently, Juventus brought back Leonardo Bonucci from Milan by offering the rossoneri Gonzalo Higuain and Mattia Caldara. Roma got Spinazzola himself in a swap for Luca Pellegrini. While these deals haven’t gone to plan, the one involving Suso and Under could be much better.
The ACL and meniscus injury suffered by Nicolo Zaniolo sent alarm bells ringing in Italian football. Perhaps, that was one reason why the club got Politano in for Spinazzola. The former Sassuolo man replaces the injured Zaniolo, as he looks to reignite his career.
But quite the same goes for Suso and Under. These aren’t bad players by any means. But circumstances at their clubs have become such that they might need a move on.
That is certainly true for Suso. The Spaniard could contribute to only eight goals in 2019 and took a lot of criticism for his inconsistencies. This season, he has a tally of one goal and two assists and he has become a reason for Milan’s incompetencies in front of goal. The rossoneri have found the back of the net the third-lowest number of times this season- 18.
Suso is seen as a one-dimensional player who is only a crosser from the right side of the pitch. And the criticism is now pretty much reaching a peak.
As for Suso, the Turk was seen as one of the most promising youngsters in Italy for a long time. Since he came to Roma from Istanbul Basaksehir, his development has seen odd routes.
In his first season, Under did get seven goals and one assist. But things have been changing since then. The winger has had a habit of accumulating disruptive injuries. Last season, Under missed 12 games due to injuries and he has already missed ten games due to injury this season under Paulo Fonseca. He is a classic case of how niggling injuries can sometimes have a bigger impact than one long-term injury.
Recently, Turkish legend Emre Belozoglu did talk of Under having to do more to play for a bigger club. He told Gazzetta dello Sport (via CM): “In Rome, it will not be easy. Everyone will have to help him. I hope to see him at a big club. A club like Real, Barca, City or Bayern Munich. To make that leap, he would have to do more.”
His numbers haven’t taken too much a bump though. As Under made 26 appearances in the Serie A last season and got ten goal contributions to his name. But for a player who had immense promise, it could have been much more than how much it is.
Both players still can change games. Under did that when he got a goal for Roma in a thrilling 3-3 draw against Genoa in the first game of the season. Suso did that in games against Spal, Brescia and Bologna. His contributions proved critical in all three games.
But Suso might just play better in a more attacking side. Or at least in a side that scores more goals. Roma have the fifth-best attacking record in the league this season, scoring 34 goals. In a Fonseca side that plays a fluid brand of football in a 4-2-3-1 shape, he will have more freedom to move and dictate things and he could thrive on that.
As for Under, he will get a move on from a place that isn’t doing much to help his development. With Politano coming in, his position in the first-team won’t be helped. The club still has Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Justin Kluivert- meaning his first-team spot isn’t guaranteed.
At Milan, he will be a regular like Suso was. Samu Castillejo did start against Cagliari recently, but Under fits right into the Suso role on the right flank. It will be an under-the-radar way of carrying forward his development and getting his stuttering career back on track.