Turkish league to begin with new stars on board
ISTANBULThe Turkish Super League begins on Aug. 11, when last season’s dark horse Medipol Başakşehir hosts Bursaspor at home, as fans of all sides feel excited to see world stars who made their way to Turkey on millions of euros of contracts.
Başakşehir, which ended last season in second place behind champion Beşiktaş, signed a whopping 10 players and parted ways with nine.
The team under Coach Abdullah Avcı usually prefers to stay away from expensive signings but surprisingly added Togolese star Emmanuel Adebayor on board last season. During the summer window, it turned to players from its rivals, including Aurelien Chedjou from Galatasaray, Gökhan İnler and Kerim Frei from Beşiktaş, Tunay Torun from Kasımpaşaspor, and Mert Günok from Bursaspor.
After sending its wonder kid Cengiz Ünder to Roma on a more than 13 million euro contract, the team made room for newcomers: Gael Clichy from Manchester City, Eljero Elia from Feyenoord, Mevlüt Erdinç from Hannover 96, and Manuel da Costa from Olympiacos.
Five days after the league opening, the Istanbul team will host Spain’s Sevilla in a Champions League playoff in the group stage, as it already passed Belgium’s Club Brugge.
Disappointing fans for the past three seasons, Fenerbahçe seeks a fresh beginning under Aykut Kocaman, one of its former coaches and milestone players, and a 20th title.
On Aug. 12, the Istanbul team will travel to İzmir to challenge Göztepe, the newcomer from İzmir, with its new players, including French attacker from Olympique Lyon, Mathieu Valbuena and Spanish striker from Villareal, Roberto Soldado, on board.
Fenerbahçe also signed contracts with Chilean Mauricio Isla from Cagliari Calcio, Morrocan Nabil Dirar from Monaco, Cameroonean Carlos Kameni from Malaga and Turkish international Mehmet Ekici from local rival Trabzonspor.
The team still has Robin van Persie, Mehmet Topal, and Martin Skertel on its squad.
Still, on Aug. 12, Akhisar will take on Sivasspor, another new arrival to the league, as Gençlerbirliği and Kardemir Karabük will clash in Ankara. The Mediterranean region’s Alanyaspor will host Kasımpaşaspor.
Beşiktaş, which clinched two league titles in a row with coach Şenol Güneş, will begin its campaign at home on Aug. 13, hosting Antalyaspor, which depends on its veteran striker Samuel Eto’o.
The Black Eagles added Real Madrid’s Portuguese defender Képler Laveran Lima Ferreira, also known as Pepe and Spanish striker Alvaro Negredo from Valencia just to replace Vincent Aboubakar and Demba Ba.
It lost center back Marcelo Guedes Olympique Lyon with an 8.5 million euro transfer fee.
The team empowered its wings with Fener’s Dutch winger Jeremain Lens, just to join Portugual international Ricardo Quaresma and former Liverpool attacker Ryan Babel.
Anderson Talisca’s stay still hangs by a thread.
Trabzonspor, which eyes a breakthrough in the 50th anniversary of its foundation, has already made a facelift last season.
Coach Ersun Yenal will also have new guns, including Turkey international Burak Yılmaz, Slovakian Juraj Kucka and Belgium Theo Bongonda. The Black Sea team will host Aug. 13 Atıker Konyaspor at the club’s new stadium, opened by the end of last season.
Konya beat Beşiktaş last week in the Turkish Super Cup.
Evkur Yeni Malatyaspor, which returned to the top tier after decades, will host Osmanlıspor.
Galatasaray has experienced the biggest change during the summer transfer window.
The fans have big expectations of French Bafetimbi Gomis, who came from the Premier League Swansea and Moroccan Younes Belhanda from Dynamo Kyiv.
The Lions also strengthened their defense line with Maicon from Sao Paulo.
The team sent Lukas Podolski to Japan’s Vissel Kobe and Wesley Sneijder to France’s Nice. It also sent young star Bruma to Germany’s RB Leipzig.
Galatasaray will play against Kayserispor at home in the closing game of the first week on Aug. 14.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray chairman Özbek Dursun was elected as the new chair of the Turkish club’s union on Aug. 10.