Barça’s Arda Turan on way back to Istanbul after talks with Barcelona
However, Başakşehir, which has risen fast over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray, warned that the transfer was still a work in progress.
“The process is continuing. I don’t think there is any problem with him but this part of the talks with Barcelona is not easy,” Başakşehir head coach Abdullah Avcı told the Turkish media on Jan. 10.
Club chairman Göksel Gümüşdağ said in a statement that he held talks in Barcelona with parties including Turan and Barcelona chief executive Oscar Gomar.
He said he returned from the talks “feeling positive” both due to the player’s enthusiasm and the backing of its sponsor.
“We have agreed in principle on many issues but there are still some steps that need to be taken,” Gümüşdağ added.
Press reports have said that a six-month loan deal - which could be converted into a permanent arrangement - was being discussed.
Turan, 30, joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid but he has failed to hold down a first team place.
The player is a household name in his home country, where his personal life is followed as closely as his exploits on the field.
After his move to Barça, the authorities in the gritty Istanbul district of Bayrampaşa announced that they had named the road where he grew up “Arda Turan Street” in his honor.
Turan quit international football earlier this year after being thrown out of a training camp by former coach Fatih Terim following a fracas with a reporter on a plane.
But the subsequent departure of Terim, which also came in the wake of a fistfight, opened the way for Turan’s recall in August under Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu.
Many expected Turan to rejoin Galatasaray, the club where he rose to stardom a decade ago, but Terim’s appointment as manager appears to have made this look impossible.
Last season’s runner-up Başakşehir won 2-1 against city rival Kasımpaşa away in the closing game of the first half of the season on Dec. 24, entering the winter break atop the standings with 36 points, one above Galatarasaray.
Veteran Turkish midfielder Emre Belözoğlu and Togolese striker Emmanuel Adebayor are among the most recognizable names in the Başakşehir squad.