In recent years in particular, Turkey has failed to live up to the expectations of a football-mad nation, with both the country’s national team and its major clubs failing to make an impression. Of course, there was the odd golden generation and the likes of the 2002 World Cup squad even came close to winning a major title. Nevertheless, inconsistency has been the name of the game for the Turks and one of the main reasons as to why that is the case has to be the country’s lack of a genuine talent production line.
Despite these worries, current transfer news surrounding Turkish players represent a silver lining of sorts. In this sense, Arda Turan’s move from Atletico Madrid to Barcelona can be regarded as the pinnacle of all Turkish transfers, with the versatile midfielder heading to the Camp Nou for a fee believed to be €34 million. This transfer has gone through despite Barca’s transfer embargo, which will prevent Turan from playing for the Blaugrana before 1st January 2016. In four years at Atletico, the Turkish international put on the club’s shirt in 178 official games and scored 22 goals. Prior to his move to Spain, Turan had played for boyhood club Galatasaray, scoring 45 goals in 197 matches.
Most recently, the midfielder was allegedly unsatisfied with Diego Simeone’s high-intensity philosophy at Atletico, which prevented Turan from exploiting his talents more. At Barcelona, the player will discover an arguably more fitting style and might turn out to be a great buy for the Blaugrana who will no longer be able to rely on Xavi’s contribution. In essence, Turan will add more trickery and a great passing range to Barca’s game, and might take the weight of Iniesta’s shoulders for example.
Another interesting Turkish transfer is Enes Unal’s move from Bursaspor to Manchester City for a fee of €2.8 million. The 18-year old striker is known for being incredibly prolific in front of goal, having scored 25 goals in 24 games for Turkey’s U16. The youngster also debuted in the Turkish national team aged 17, after coming on as a second half substitute against Luxembourg in March. He has not really broken through at Bursa, but still scored four goals in 31 games last season. Nevertheless, the forward is regarded as one of Turkey’s brightest talents and might play an important part in City’s future.
Another talented striker who left Bursaspor is 19-year old Batuhan Altintas. The young striker was frozen out by Bursaspor during last season, when he signaled his intentions to leave the club. As such, he leaves Turkey with only ten league appearances, but joins Hamburg, the struggling Bundesliga side that might give him the opportunity to shine. The club do not currently have many options up front, with Pierre-Michel Lasogga and 35-year old Ivica Olic being the main men. This might be beneficial for Altintas who will certainly get some playing time during the course of the season.
Intriguingly, Bursaspor might lose another talent before the end of the transfer window, with talented midfielder Ozan Tufan being linked with a move to the likes of Fenerbahce and Manchester United. The 20-year old looks certain to leave Bursa and he looks just as certain to become a star player for the country. It will be interesting to watch the space, as Turkey’s football seems to be on the up.