Turkish teams raced against time in the transfer period

ARDA ALAN IŞIK
ISTANBUL
Published 02.02.2019 00:25

Turkish clubs waited until the last minute to make their biggest transfer moves in the winter transfer window. Due to the financial crisis in Turkish football, it had been a quiet transfer period until the last day. It turned out that quality players did not want to come to Turkey without big numbers in their contract. Combined with high transfer fees, Turkish clubs simply did not have the necessary funds to make those deals. Nevertheless, Turkish executives managed to pull off a magic trick in the final minute: Loaning players instead of buying them.

Beşiktaş loaned Shinji Kagawa from Dortmund, Fenerbahçe loaned Victor Moses from Chelsea and Galatasaray loaned Kostas Mitroglou from Marseille, Christian Luyindama from Standard Liege and their former player Semih Kaya from Sparta Prague. These are all crucial transfers made for immediate effect; there was not any long-term investment from any Turkish side. Still, these loans will make sure that big Turkish teams can continue to operate as they used to, until the end of this season.

The reason why Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe did not sign as many loan deals like Galatasaray is simple, they are already out of the championship race. The league leaders Başakşehir has already widened the gap between Beşiktaş with 11 points, and Fenerbahçe just got out from the relegation zone after their first win since November. Thus, with some other minor transfers, these two teams strengthened their attacking power without making any dramatic changes.

Speaking of dramatic changes, Galatasaray has played one of the biggest gambles in the club's history. It is already in financial trouble, but the club spent the money it earned from Garry Rodrigues's and Ozan Kabak's sale to buy Mbaye Diagne from Kasımpaşa and Marcao from Chaves. This means that in the scenario where Başakşehir holds on to its position and become the champions, the whole plan of balancing the budget with the Super League championship and Champions League prizes will be in vain. This is a huge risk since as a club that wholeheartedly accepted the debt restructuring, it should have spent the money to stabilize its budget rather than gambling with it.

However, with these new transfers, it seems like Başakşehir will not be alone in its championship race. It has strengthened the squad with Robinho and Demba Ba as well, but now Galatasaray has a main striker, Diagne, and a back-up plan in Kostas Mitroglou. Everyone complained in the first half of the season that Eren Derdiyok was not the right striker for Galatasaray and because of him the team lost lots of points. Now we will see whether these allegations are true or the media and the fans were unfair to Derdiyok. Regardless, it will be a tough championship race.

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