Galatasaray delves into fountain of youth in transfer market
AA PhotoThe mid-season transfer window for Turkish clubs passed at midnight on Feb. 4, with Galatasaray ending the period as the most active club, having made nine new signings.
The two-time defending champion’s tally doubled the new signings of its three closest rivals combined.
Galatasaray signed Brazilian left back Alex Telles, Bosnian winger Izet Hajrovic, and the Argentinean duo of defender Guillermo Burdisso and attacker Lucas Ontivero. The club also purchased the services of Eskişehirspor midfielder Veysel Sarı, along with promising youngsters Umut Gündoğan, Oğuz Kayar and Koray Günter.
The Lions, who aimed to boost their squad after a disappointing performance in the first part of the season, also sent out three of its foreign players on loan deals. Galatasaray sent Moroccan winger Nordin Amrabat to Malaga, Portuguese starlet Bruma to Gaziantepspor, and Cameroonian defender Dany Nounkeu to Beşiktaş on loan deals, in an attempt to clear places in its foreign player quota. Super League clubs are only allowed to have 10 non-Turkish players in their squads, and can name only six of them in matches.
Galatasaray, currently seven points behind leader Fenerbahçe in the Super League, rejuvenated its squad with the transfers, and has managed to lower its average age. Starting the season with a squad whose average age is 27.7, which was the second oldest in the league, Galatasaray managed to decrease its average age to under 26 in the transfer window. Fenerbahçe has the oldest squad, with an average age of 29.5.
Coach Roberto Mancini is struggling to maintain Galatasaray’s title defense this season, but despite its mediocre league form, it is the only Turkish team to remain in three competitions, including the Champions League and the Turkish Cup. The Lions will face 2012 winner Chelsea in the Champions League round-of-16, but have a greater chance in the Turkish Cup, where they are in the quarterfinals.
[HH] Black Eagles loan in Dany, Jones
Beşiktaş was the second most active club of the window. The Black Eagles spent most of the window busy trying to sign Ronaldinho and offered a lucrative deal to the Brazilian superstar, who eventually decided to remain with his club.
Along with Dany, Beşiktaş also signed combative midfielder Jermaine Jones, who fell out of favor at Schalke 04. Jones will be fighting for a spot in the United States national squad for the summer’s World Cup in Brazil. Beşiktaş also sent out back-up goalkeeper Günay Güvenç to Adanaspor and Nigerian forward Michael Eneramo to Kardemir Karabükspor on loan deals. It also parted ways with Mehmet Akgün and Dentinho, who completed his one-year loan period and returned to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Fenerbahçe, the runaway leader in the Spor Toto Super League, remained quiet over the window after a commanding performance in the first part of the season.
Trabzonspor was in search for a striker in the transfer window, but its reported offers to Premier League forwards, Arsenal’s Nicklas Bendtner and Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse, were rejected by their clubs. The Black Sea Storm, which has a tough Europa League tie against Italian giant Juventus later this month, has signed Romanian defensive midfielder Alexandru Bourceanu from Steaua Bucharest.