Turkish football, eh? Fenerbahce, Galatasary, Besiktas. Mad fans tunnelling into stadia. Graeme Souness planting corner flags in the centre circle. Darius Vassell getting a hero’s welcome at Ankara airport. Lovely stuff.
All things considered, here at Power Tower we’re big fans of the Turkish Super League. By which we mean, of course, that prior to this article we’d heard of approximately five of the teams in the division.
Upon further inspection, though, the league is a bit of a goldmine if you’re the type of person who loves to spend hours scrolling through Wikipedia and loudly exclaiming “no way, him too?” every few minutes. Which is exactly what happened when we examined the squads of each Super League club and noticed more than a few familiar names popping up.
As it turns out, Turkey is a bit of a graveyard for ex-Premier League players. Particularly those seeking a large pay-packet as their career prospects begin to dwindle, but also a few intrepid loanees and a host of chumps who just couldn’t hack it in The Greatest League In The World. Here’s a few that caught our eye.
— İstanbul Başakşehir (@ibfk2014) February 9, 2019
Cameron Jerome – Göztepe S.K.
Yes, the same Cameron Jerome that spent much of his career plugging away for Birmingham, Stoke and Norwich is now on the books at Göztepe S.K., a club located in the city of Izmir who play their home games in a 12,500 capacity stadium.
Jerome was something of a nearly man in the Premier League. He always threatened to be prolific, but was generally more about the nuisance value than actually finding the net, especially during his spell at the Potters during the last few years of the Pulis era.
Today is the start of another journey In my career now officially a göztepe F.C. player and looking forward to the new challenge in my career and next chapter!!
— cameron jerome (@camjerome33) August 31, 2018
Roberto Soldado – Fenerbahce
Soldado started out at Real Madrid but moved on at the age of 23. A stellar spell at Valencia earned him a big-money move to, er, Tottenham Hotspur, where he managed a whopping seven goals in 52 league games. He became something of a laughing stock in the Premier League and was swiftly moved on as a young lad called Harry Kane began to make a name for himself at White Hart Lane.
Unlike at Spurs, Soldado would have hoped to actually win something when he joined Fenerbahce, but he appears to have pitched up in Istanbul at what’s turning out to be a pretty dark time for the club. Fener currently sit in 14th place, which is not great going for a club that has won 19 league titles. Clearly working wonders there, Bobby.
Gael Clichy, Emre Belozoglu, Emmanuel Adebayor, Eljero Elia, Demba Ba, Gokhan Inler and Robinho
Amazingly, this septet all play for the same team, Istanbul Basaksehir. What a time they must be having, as Basaksehir currently reign supreme in Turkey with a six-point lead over second-placed Galatasaray in the Super League.
At the ripe old age of 35, Robinho clearly still has it. So far this season, he’s got nine goals and four assists in the league – he’s evidently loving life surrounded by the likes of Adebayor and Clichy. Demba Ba’s career, meanwhile, arguably peaked when he scored *that* goal against Liverpool, but he appears to be very settled in Turkey, having won the league previously with Besiktas three years after first arriving in 2014.
We were shocked to learn Emre is still playing, as we thought he’d retired about ten years ago, but the former Newcastle dynamo is very much alive and kicking as a footballer. He’s club captain at Basaksehir, remarkable considering he made his debut in this league all the way back in 1996.
Shinji Kagawa (Loan), Gary Medel, Ricardo Quaresma, Jeremain Lens and Loris Karius (Loan) – Besiktas
A while ago, it became a bit of a thing to “Come to Besiktas”:
Which probably explains the presence of this mixed-bag quintet of ex-PL punters. Good old Ricky Quaresma has actually had a very good career at Besiktas, which followed hot on the heels of his ill-fated loan to Chelsea in 2009. Kagawa’s time at Old Trafford was hardly an unqualified success, while Jeremain Lens played 20-odd times for Sunderland in three years. The less said about Karius at Liverpool the better.
Still, this motley crew can’t be that bad, as Besiktas are currently third in the Super League and fighting for a Champions League spot.
Andre Ayew (Loan), Victor Moses (Loan), Islam Slimani (Loan), Martin Skrtel – Fenerbahce
Remember what we were saying about a dark time for Fenerbahce? Maybe now you know why.
Stéphane Sessègnon – Genclerbigli
There was a time when Sessègnon was one of the form players in the Premier League. He now plays for Genclerbigli.
Arouna Koné and Hugo Rodallega – Sivasspor and Trabzonspor
We’ve grouped these two together in a tribute to their glory years at Wigan. Great days.
Papiss Cissé and Steven Caulker – Alanyaspor
Cissé burned brightly for Newcastle over a four-year period before making the plunge and zipping off to China with Shandong Luneng. He’s been back in Europe since 2018, banging them in at a moderate rate for Alanyaspor, and was joined in 2019 by former Liverpool man Steven Caulker.
Kostas Mitroglou (Loan) – Galatasaray
The King of Fulham. Or not.
Asamoah Gyan – Kayserispor
Another of the ex-Sunderland set. Gyan actually went to play in the UAE after departing the Stadium of Light at the age of 27, notching a pretty remarkable 95 goals in 83 games for the Emirati side. Surprisingly, he hasn’t been quite as prolific in the Super League. Not yet, anyway.