Roma have been requiring new competition for Rick Karsdorp at right-back and it has arrived in the form of Zeki Celik.
The likes of Bryan Reynolds and Ainsley Maitland-Niles were not quite up to the task of being Karsdorp’s back-up in 2021-22, while Davide Santon was not even in consideration before his release. It led to something of a burden on the starting Dutchman, who played more than 50 games. So, how will Celik be different?
The 25-year-old has arrived from Lille, where he once won the Ligue 1 title, on a contract until 2026. He is bringing with him a good blend of experience and potential.
But how does he compare to Karsdorp, the man he will be battling for a place with?
The general perception before his arrival has been that he will be better defensively, and the statistics from last season (via Opta, all per 90 minutes) reflect that. In league games, Celik outperformed Karsdorp for clearances, interceptions, blocks and tackles. The former Feyenoord man was only marginally better at ball recoveries (5.6 compared to 5.4).
What’s more, Celik won more duels both in the air and on the ground. In fact, he won more than half of his overall battles. That said, Karsdorp had a better success rate of ground duels, even if he didn’t win as many.
In addition, Celik gave away more fouls, although he also won more than Karsdorp. For a player who has vowed he will be “fighting for everything”, it won’t be surprising to see the Turk in the thick of the action either way.
In terms of passing, Karsdorp was better at the long variety, whereas Celik completed a higher proportion of short passes. Overall, it was Roma’s number two with the better pass completion rate, but the ex-Lille man with a higher number of passes completed per game. In fairness, there was little to separate them in that regard.
Interestingly, the two players favoured different zones for their passing. Celik completed more passes in the opposition half, while Karsdorp completed more in his own half.
Going forward, Karsdorp was unsurprisingly better at crossing and, presumably largely as a result, creating chances (1.4 compared to 0.8). He also lost possession at a lower rate (12.8 compared to 14.5).
But Celik got more touches of the ball on average (71.5 compared to 64.4), showing how he could get involved for his side.
Furthermore, trying to make use of the ball, he completed more successful take-ons. Despite this, Karsdorp had a better success rate as a percentage.
Overall, the data shows they have different styles, but that includes strong points for both parties. Indeed, there is a reasonable balance for who is better than whom in certain aspects. Hence, they could complement each other, allowing Jose Mourinho to pick who will be the better option depending on how each game develops.
Keep visiting this blog throughout July for regular updates on Roma transfer news.