Top teams embark on busy mid-season transfer window
Galatasaray will need a player for the left back position, which is currently filled by Albert Riera (R), while Fenerbahçe looks to sign Belhanda (bottom) to back up its forwards, including Dirk Kuyt (L). AA photoNew Year’s Day is a holiday for most, but for Turkish football clubs it is the restart of transfer action. For Turkish football clubs, Jan. 1 means the start of the mid-season transfer window, where the Spor Toto Super League outfits will try to boost their squads for the remainder of the campaign.
Leader Galatasaray holds a three-point lead over Beşiktaş and surprise-package Medical Park Antalyaspor, in addition to a six-point advantage over Fenerbahçe and it looks like the four teams will be in contention. Apart from minnow Antalyaspor, who has already exceeded expectations, the remaining three will be in the chase for a few players until the end of the transfer window on Jan. 31.
Leader Galatasaray is believed to be in the market for a left back, Fenerbahçe is searching for a forward while Beşiktaş needs both.
Galatasaray, who used Albert Riera, an original left winger at the back, will be trying to find a natural full-back as the team will have a busy winter season. Having made it to the knockout stages in the Champions League and being pitted against Schalke 04, Galatasaray has reason to believe that it has a shot of making it to the quarterfinals in the top club competition, but the full-back problem needs to be sorted out. Brazilian media link Fluminense’s 25-year-old Carlinhos with Galatasaray, while the Turkish press speculates that former Fener player Andre Santos, who has fallen out of favor at Arsenal, could also make a return to Istanbul.
The Lions have been linked with midfield aces Kaka and Diego, of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid respectively, but the chances of a marquee signing looks dim, especially in midfield.
Fener seeks a forward
Fenerbahçe will be busy in the transfer window, hoping to add a midfielder to contribute to the team’s attacking play. After the departure of Alex de Souza in November, Fenerbahçe’s goal-scoring duties were shouldered by the duo of Moussa Sow and Dirk Kuyt, while Cristian Baroni, a combative midfielder, was used more on the attack. Montpellier’s Moroccan midfielder Younes Belhanda is reportedly a target for Fenerbahçe, who aims to go further in the Europa League.
Beşiktaş views the mid-season as key since the Istanbul club performed above expectations after starting the season with a rebuilt squad. The Black Eagles parted ways with many players, Ricardo Quaresma most recently, to cut expenses, and spent barely over one million euro in the summer to purchase seven first-team players. With the club being a title contender halfway through the season, Beşiktaş hopes to win its first title since 2009 with a few additions to the team.
The Black Eagles are searching a left back, with injured İsmail Köybaşı not expected to play this season and veteran Uğur Boral failing to live up to expectations. Beşiktaş was linked with former Fenerbahçe player Reto Ziegler, but the move was denied by the club. Coach Samet Aybaba announced that the club is now in talks with Istanbul BB for left back Gökhan Süzen and the deal might be over soon.
Aybaba has already said that the team would be chasing a striker “that could immediately play and score goals,” to back up Hugo Almeida, who is the only center forward in the absence of injured Mustafa Pektemek.
Beşiktaş eyes Nene
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Nene is the top target for Beşiktaş, while Kardemir Karabükspor’s Lomana Lua Lua is another candidate.
Trabzonspor, who fell nine points behind Galatasaray, hopes to improve its squad in January, but the club is first dealing with internal matters. The Black Sea outfit lost sporting director Giray Bulak to Mersin İdman Yurdu and assigned its former midfielder Ünal Karaman to the position. The team was linked with players with Super League experience, such as Gaziantepspor’s Cenk Tosun, Istanbul BB’s Pierre Webo, Kasımpaşa’s Kalu Uche and Lua Lua. However, the team has to offload some of its foreign players since it is already full in its quota, and Slovakians Marek Cech, Robert Vittek and Brazilian forward Paulo Henrique might leave this month.