Turkish Football News

Turkish players who made a big impact in EPL

Turkish players who made a big impact in EPL

Turkey has exported several players to England in recent years and a number of them have left their mark on English football.

As the richest and most popular league in the world, the English Premier League is a dream destination for footballers from all parts of the globe. Part of the global appeal of the league comes from its rich history and the passionate rivalry between clubs.

The modern-day appeal also stems from the world-class talent on display. Yes, the league hosts more foreign-born players than any other league in Europe, according to UEFA. A whopping 70% of the player-base in the EPL came from outside England.

While French and Spanish players are very common, Turkish players have constituted only a fraction. Over the years, a little over a dozen players from Turkey have played in the league, with limited impact and success. Let’s look at them, starting with the most recent signings.

Current Turkish players in England

As of 2018-19, two Turkish international players are plying their trade in the English Premier League – Caglar Soyuncu and Cenk Tosun. The latter made his move from Besiktas to Everton in a big transfer back in 2017. He has not exactly set the league alight in his two years at Merseyside, scoring just eight times in 39 appearances for Everton.

A change in managers also reduced his role at the club last year to just 10 appearances. But his strong showing for the national side in recent outings has renewed the spotlight on Tosun. He is yet to make a mark in the Premier League this season. Tosun will have to grab the next opportunity he gets if he wants to improve his position at Everton.

In comparison, Soyuncu has had a better start to his English journey. The young defender from Izmir was signed by Leicester City from the Bundesliga side SC Freiburg in 2018. He had been attracting attention from big clubs like Manchester City, AS Roma, and Lille.

In his first season at Leicester, Soyuncu was only used sparingly, making only four appearances. He has had more of an impact in his second season, having already made six appearances so far in 2019-20. Soyuncu has made it to the team sheet for his club’s away match at Old Trafford in September.

That match-up offers some intriguing betting options, with Leicester’s given odds ranging from 3/1 to 21/10. While United are available at 19/20, the chances of a draw between the teams have been pegged at 5/2 by some bookies. Here is a quick link to Premier League betting offers from all the best UK bookmakers.

Some other betting markets worth an early punt include the individual stats, like league top scorer. Manchester City’s Aguero is a hot favorite early on, with odds of 7/2. Harry Kane and Mohammed Salah of Spurs and Liverpool are at 9/2, with Norwich’s Teemu Pukki the only surprise among the leading contenders with odds of 16/1.

Past signings from Turkey in EPL

 In the last decade or so, several Turkish players come to English clubs. None of them has really succeeded in making a mark for their English clubs. Some of these players lasted only for a season at their clubs:

  • Jem Karacan at Reading (2012)
  • Nuri Sahin at Liverpool (2012)
  • Gokhan Tore at West Ham (2016)
  • Kerim Frei at Fulham for two years (2011-13)

As for players who have had a measure of success in England, two-three names from the early 2000s spring to mind. Muzzy Izzet had longish spells at Leicester and Birmingham City. Tugay was a fixture at Blackburn Rovers for 8 long years.

Emre Belzoglu was arguably one of the most successful players from Turkey in England, having spent three good seasons at Newcastle United. Legends like Yildiray Basturk and Hakan Sukur had small cameo seasons again at Blackburn Rovers. The club seems to have had a deep connection with Turkish football over the years.

Players with Turkish connections

Given the large number of Turkish origin players and superstars in German football, we should also take a look at some of those who have made a mark in England in recent years. Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil and Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan are both players with strong Turkish roots. Another recent departure from Liverpool — Emre Can —  also belongs to the same category.

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