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Everton back in for Walcott upgrade

Roma’s Cengiz Ünder is back under the radar after a summer bid was rejected

Cengiz Under of As Roma during the Serie A match between... Photo by Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images

Multiple media sources are reporting that AS Roma are now looking to sell off a few assets to bolster their side during this January window, and among them is a forward that Everton put in a summer bid for but were rejected.

The Toffees had offered the Italian side £25m for Cengiz Ünder but Roma had turned them down at the time, but with the winger falling down the pecking order the Giallorossi no longer deem him as ‘non-transferable’ (CalcioMercato, via SportWitness).

Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones claims that the Toffees have already initiated contact with the player’s representatives, with the pricetag set in the €40 million range but Roma willing to negotiate.

Ünder is having a relatively quieter season so far, having missed almost two months with a hamstring injury that flared up again after he had aggravated it in the summer. The Turkish forward unfortunately has had a history of muscular issues, missing 12 games last season as well.

While he only has one goal from seven appearances (277 minutes played), statistically he’s on pace if not better to improve on multiple numbers from his two previous seasons in the Serie A.

Cengiz Ünder at AS Roma, last three seasons

The 22-year-old would fit in very well with that the Blues are building at Goodison Park, he plays out on the right most often where he can cut in and shoot with his dominant left foot. Theo Walcott has played decently enough whenever he’s been on, but is a pale shadow of his Arsenal self and Carlo Ancelotti has even resorted to using fullback Djibril Sidibe in that role at times. Richarlison has also played out on the right when Bernard has been fit, but is much more comfortable as a second striker or out wide on the left.

Discounting the small sample size this season for Ünder due to injury, he has been very impressive in previous years as well.

Cengiz Ünder shot map 2017-2019

Last season he scored 6 goals with 11 assists in 33 appearances for the team from the capital, following up on 8 goals and 2 assists from the season before. The youngster’s positioning and decision-making are considered his greatest strengths.

His shot map shows a player equally comfortable shooting from inside or outside the box. Ünder led the Serie A last season with 0.5 assists per 90 min played, and also recorded 1.5 shots, 33.4 passes and 2.2 key passes per 90 min. The forward ended the season in the top 15 in the Italian league in goal contributions.

There is no doubting Ünder’s ability, as the radar below shows, while also highlighting some areas of weakness, especially with turnovers, dribbling and a marked lack of defensive support.

At Everton he would be a direct replacement for Walcott on the right wing, bringing his pace and ability to cut in on his left foot to bear. Ünder is renowned already for his participation in build-up play, and his penetrating runs and shooting means he could be a true gamechanger for Everton and more effective than Richarlison out on the right wing. When chasing games, he can make a big impact as a sub, allowing Ancelotti to push Richarlison upfront to play off the lead striker or on the left wing.

Ünder vs Richarlison, 2017-19
Ünder vs Walcott, 2017-19

The young forward has always looked as close to a sure bet as you can get in the transfer market, and with him falling behind Diego Perotti, Moise Kean’s best friend Nicolo Zaniolo, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and another Everton target Justin Kuivert in the depth chart, a move to the Toffees could kickstart his career under Ancelotti.

(NOTE: Parts of this article have been taken as excerpts from previous transfer stories on Cengiz previously published on RBM)