Turkish Football News

Super Lig youngsters shine in tricky season

This season has been full of surprises so far but the biggest just might be the number of young, promising Turkish players staking their claim to be regular starting players for their respective clubs.

In a league where traditional powerhouses have lost steam, a young and upcoming generation of players is making headlines around Turkey. Turkish and foreign under-23 players have enjoyed a stellar season as European clubs eye this new generation ahead of the January transfer window, according to various reports from well-known sports news outlets.

Eighteen-year-old Yunus Akgun kicked off his career in Galatasaray’s youth team in 2015 and finally earned his place in the senior team last summer. Even though has had little playing time this season and only made one assist, pundits say the young right winger has a promising future.

Akgun (right) playing for Galatasaray.

His speedy style and dribbling have earned him a lot of praise and he often draws comparisons to Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann, both in appearance and his use of his left foot. His impressive style reportedly drew the attention of Chelsea and Juventus which monitor him according to media outlets.

Ozan Kabak, another rising star of Galatasaray, was included in the Lions’ lineup this season in the absence of a more experienced defender, but his performances have quickly solidified his place in the first team for Galatasaray this season.

Kabak (right) defending during a Champions League game.

Kabak, a product of Galatasaray’s youth team like Akgun, joined the Yellow-Reds this season but had more playing time than Akgun. England’s The Sun reported that Manchester United is eyeing Kabak in a bid to bolster its defense and Galatasaray has slapped an 8-figure price tag on the player, who is also tracked by Roma, Inter and Arsenal.

Fresh off a successful stint with the Turkey Under-17 team, he found a place in UEFA’s list of 10 players to watch. The center-back made his senior team debut in a 2-0 win against Malatyaspor towards the end of last season but his ability to read the game has earned him lots of praise this season where he has made 13 appearances so far.

Burak Kapacak started out in Bursaspor, a club known as the launchpad for careers of renowned Turkish footballers. The 18-year-old defender featured in 9 matches this season and impressed with his outstanding performance.

Nineteen-year-old forward Guven Yalcin has added young blood to Besiktas, who have suffered since Alvaro Negredo’s departure and poor performances from Vagner Love and Cyle Larin. Yalcin has featured 6 times for the Black Eagles this season, scoring two goals and making one assist.

Guven of Besiktas.

Rugged midfielder Abdulkadir Omur of Trabzonspor is regarded as another rising talent of Turkish football. The midfielder, a product of the club’s youth academy, has been linked with a number of English Premier League clubs. His dribbling ability, skill for getting past opponents and his strong left foot have earned him the comparison to Argentina legend Lionel Messi.

Abdulkadir (left) speeding past an opponent.

Baris Alici, Fenerbahce’s 21-year-old midfielder, also proved himself to be a force to reckoned with, especially in offensive phases of play when coach Erwin Koeman began including him in the starting 11 this season.

The Turkish youngster, who joined Fenerbahce from Altinordu this past summer, is praised for his speed and is making a name for himself with his ability to mark opponents tightly though he is criticized by fans for lacking in the ability to make quality passes.

With the weak Turkish Lira and economical hardship many clubs around Turkey are facing, the time is now for clubs to look to their youth and give their promising youngster a chance to prove their worth.

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