Turkish league leader Medipol Başakşehir reached an agreement on Saturday to sign midfielder Arda Turan on loan from Barcelona. Turan was welcomed on the same day by around a hundred supporters, who were wearing orange scarves and holding "Welcome Arda Turan" signs, at Istanbul's Atatürk Airport. Turan was in high spirits, smiling and waving at the crowd upon his arrival to Istanbul, telling reporters he was "very happy" with the move.
"I'm here not just for short-term goals, but for long-term success. I hope we all together achieve great success and titles for Medipol Başakşehir. I am grateful to our chairman Göksel Gümüşdağ and coach Abdullah Avcı for this chance. I am very happy to play football in a very healthy organization" he said.
"Arda Turan is in his country wearing the orange kit (of Başakşehir). This is not just a transfer for Başakşehir, but a transfer for all of Turkey," the club president, Gümüşdağ, said in a statement. Turan will spend the next two-and-a-half seasons on loan to Başakşehir. Meanwhile, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised Turan for his tenure with the team, saying, "He is a very talented player and he has shown that in the time he has been here; I wish him luck."
Turan scored 15 goals in 55 games for Barcelona after joining the club in 2015 from Atletico Madrid. He was part of the team in the six titles the club managed to claim: one league, two Copa del Reys, one Spanish Super Cup, one Club World Cup and one European Super Cup. Barcelona has reserved the right to sell Turan in any of the transfer windows between now and the end of his loan spell. The midfielder had not featured for the La Liga league leaders so far this season. His number seven shirt could now be made available to new signing Philippe Coutinho. Başakşehir have risen rapidly over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray. Meanwhile, Turan issued a heartfelt farewell message on Twitter, explaining that playing for Barcelona was his "wildest dream" and he was "proud" to make it happen.