Golden years for Turkish talents

Turkish clubs are in the golden years for player sales. Cenk Tosun, Caglar Soyuncu, Cengiz Under, Merih Demiral, Yusuf Yazici, Zeki Celik, Okay Yokuslu, Ozan Kabak are playing for Everton, Leicester City, Roma, Juventus, Lille, Celta Vigo, Schalke 04. Arda Turan is still a Barcelona player. Enes Unal went to Manchester City. Napoli signed with Eljif Elmas from Fenerbahce. Cedric Bakambu is one of the most valuable African players and he went to Villareal from Bursaspor. In addition, a lot of European clubs have been following Abdulkadir Omur and Ali Akman.

Well, what is the key of this success? If you are expecting a good system and investment story, unfortunately, this is not correct. Turkish football still has big problems and that’s exactly what we are going to discuss. Now, we will clarify our insight as regards this question and we willl talk about the basic problems.

Please let me explain this process under 4 titles:

  • Visibility
  • Financial crisis
  • Demands of the fans
  • Immigrants

Turkish clubs signed with a lot of stars in last years.(Didier Drogba, Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o, Mario Gomez, Ricardo Quaresma, Samir Nasri, Shinji Kagawa, etc..) This was not a planned action but it was a good chance for the visibility. Yes, it worked! Thus, Bein, a broadcasting channel based in Qatar, bought the broadcasting of Turkish leagues and they have been sharing them with a lot of countries. In addition, European countries have been hosting a massive Turkish population and this was important for the visibility demands.

Secondly, scouting softwares were important. Wycscout, Instatscout, Scout7(OptaPro) added the Turkish leagues in their system in last years, supporting the data needings.Consequently, the visibility of players increased in the searchings via detailed stats. Following all these developments, the foreigners learned better the dynamics of Turkish football. They found an answer to a question; “Does Turkish league performance provide a reference for us?”. Results were good; Zeki Celik and Caglar Soyuncu went to their new clubs from Turkish second division.

Turkish clubs are in a tough financial crisis due to long-term mismanagement habits. Moreover, Turkish currency(Turkish Lira) has suffered a significant depreciation compared to foreign currencies in last two years and this has exacerbated the crisis. Because, this crisis, while reducing clubs’ matchday & sponsorship revenues, on the other hand, due to the increase in the value of the currency used in player contracts(€), put a great financial strain on the clubs..

In this case, a return to core became a must. As the transfer budgets were reduced, the clubs could not find the effective players who were playing in these salaries and so the clubs had to give chance to young people with potentials.. I am especially saying “They had to give this chance” because this is the truth. The managements of the clubs had to provide an explanation for the good transfers they could not make due to financial crisis & lack of planning. Their move about the young players, which they expressed as a vision, was an artificial answer in this way.

Football has changed and improved. As the years progressed, Turkish football fans began to question this change and development. Formerly unspoken scouting department in Turkey as well as concepts such as sporting director, now are finding a place for themselves in the main promises of the chairman elections in each club.

It was seen that incomes from the non-football commercial activities of the clubs could be lost with an incorrect transfer. The sound about investment/development first started to rise from the supporters. Scouting & investment transfers, increasing the amount of time allocated to talents, changing the outdated systematic of transfer, assigning visionary technical staff, were issues raised by the supporters in particular. However, they demand that these be done in a planned and long-term manner, of course; not for show. If these demands had been listened to, the number of names we would have included in the introduction of the text would have been much more as Turkey has a big potential with the young population.

As I said, European countries have been hosting a massive Turkish population. And the expatriate young members of the Turkish community who love football continue to be interested in this sport in the countries where they live. Germany is the focus point about this topic.

The Turks, which make up 3% of the population in Germany, gave a lot of players to German clubs. Famous names such as Mesut Ozil, Hakan Calhanoglu, Nuri Sahin, Emre Can, Hamit Altintop, Omer Toprak, Ilkay Gundogan are just a few of them. And the presence of such prominent names has increased the interest for Turkish origin players who played for the infrastructure and professional teams of German clubs. They are now followed not only by Turkish clubs because of their double passports, but also by all of Europe.

But a question needs to be asked here.
Turkey has a population of 80 million people; why were Mesut Ozil, Hakan Calhanoglu and Ilkay Gundogan born in Germany?
Ahmet is one of the most widely used male names in Turkey, but only Ahmed Kutucu(from Schalke 04) is a star candidate, why?
The answer can tell us what Turkish football needs to do for a realistic development. In fact, this answer is no secret; systematic education, discipline and an organized/planned football mind.

Gökhan Sezer, Founder & General Director, Academy Sportive