The most crucial game of the season for Galatasaray

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published

I do not even need to talk about numbers to explain how ridiculous Galatasaray's defeat against Swedish side Östersunds was. For added context, Östersunds were recently promoted to the Swedish Premier League Allsvenskan and have no experience in the European arena. Galatasaray coach Igor Tudor's team were totally miserable, having no game plan whatsoever and unable to compete with the physical Swedish side, which started their regular season weeks ago. Therefore, there is no evidence that Galatasaray can reverse this situation in just one week, and this Thursday is likely to be similar to the last one. Nevertheless, if Galatasaray cannot eliminate Östersunds, this will have enormous consequences for the club.

First of all, coach Tudor would either leave the club, or he would stay under very tense conditions that could cripple the team in the opening games of the season. The club is already yearning for success, and being eliminated by a mid-sized Swedish team in the second tier of the Europa League qualifications would be simply devastating. The fans, the administration and the players are fed up being unsuccessful in recent years, and the financial situation of the club would not get any better in the short term without success.

Chances are Tudor would be fired, and if not he would have to carry the burden of this disaster until he wins a Turkish Cup or the Super League championship at the end of the season.On the other hand, this should make Galatasaray fans and the powerful people who care about Galatasaraythink again about the goings on at their club. The administration sold all of their attacking firepower before the season began and their replacements have raised suspicions. Wesley Sneijder, Lukas Podolski and Bruma left the club, the three most important attacking players, and they were replaced by Bafetimbi Gomis and Younes Belhanda.

Gomis is definitely a threatening striker who scored 20 goals in Ligue 1 last season, and he can score five more than that in Turkey if the team can play well. But Belhanda is a mystery and he only scored three goals and had seven assists at Nice last season, leaving me suspicious prior to the season. So how come the Galatasaray administration plans to create an attacking threat with only one serious center forward signed? Given that their transfer spending has already hit $55 million, the financial situation cannot justify the departure of that attacking power. The Galatasaray executives must be challenged in the next congress over their transfer policy regardless of the result the team gets this Thursday.

However, it can be said that elimination may turn out to be beneficial for the club, given that Tudor wouldn't be the only one on the block. The administration would also lose its minimal support. If the negative energy derived from the elimination can be used for the positive long-term transformation of the club, then who cares about the Europa League? Galatasaray must return to Turkish football with a clean, reliable financial plan and success on the field. Anything that helps this cause can be regarded as beneficial.

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