The ‘lowdown’ on Cenk Tosun

Adam recorded a podcast with freelance sports writer and Besiktas fan Kaan Bayazit last week to get some detailed insight into heavily linked forward Cenk Tosun.

Kaan very kindly also agreed to submit a few words on Cenk Tosun;

Cenk Tosun was never a player like Romelu Lukaku, who experts had pegged as a future great from a very young age. He’s a player that has come from relative obscurity to become Beşiktaş’ top man, in a country where star signings, especially in the striker department, are the norm.

For a Turkish striker to earn the trust of the fans and the coach, they would have to have something special. Cenk isn’t a striker that has one great aspect to him. He doesn’t have somethingt hat really jumps out to you, “that’s Cenk’s main strength”. He doesn’t have blistering speed, he isn’t an absolute powerhouse nor is he technical genius. What makes Cenk so good, apart from his workrate and professionalism, is the fact that he doesn’t have a clear weakness and is constantly improving.

He’s 26, going on 27. An age at which strikers tend be reaching their peak years. And he’s doing exactly that, I’ve seen him being called a late bloomer, but I think that’s an insult to the constant progression he’s made throughout the past 7 years of his career. Yes, I did say earlier he has risen from relative obscurity, but I meant that in the sense that he only has 15 minutes of Bundesliga football to his name, he came to Turkey at a young age with Frankfurt seemingly having little confidence in him to ever become a Bundesliga level striker. He wasn’t a hot prospect that every top Turkish team was dying to have. He was average footballer, that worked very hard and has constantly improved his game and has evolved in to a very good one.

He’s simply a complete forward, he has no major weaknesses, but no major – world class level – strengths. I do find him to be a rather clinical finisher, but he’s no (original) Ronaldo or Van Nistelrooij.

If I had to pick a weakness, I’d say it’s his lack of height. He’s 1.83 tall, and while that might not be small, it’s definitely not tall either. But plenty of strikers smaller than him have scored plenty of goals in the Premeir League, so I don’t see why that should stop him from doing the same.

Will Cenk succeed in the Premier League?

While the Premier League has evolved in a far more technical league over the past two decades, Brittish football has always put a lot of value in work ethic, players who show heart tend to go a long way.

And Cenk certainly has plenty of that, he’s also a winner. Someone who gets fired up and gets his teammates and the fans fired up. I’ve been told, that’s something Everton desperately need these days. Cenk could certainly fill that role as the instigator and I hope he does. It’s not always easy for a player to come in to a new environment and immediately open their mouths, but Cenk has plenty of experience in Turkey – you won’t find a heavier cocktail of fire and brimstone in European football than Turkey. He isn’t afraid to speak his mind to the referee and to stand up for his teammates.

While certainly don’t think Cenk will score the amount of goals that Romelu Lukaku did for Everton, he is a crisp finisher. He’s clinical with both feet and head. But any striker is dependant on the quality of balls he’s fed, if Cenk is going to be on an island for 90 minutes there is very little he will be able to do, he’s no Leo Messi or Neymar.

As for his adaptation period, I really don’t think Cenk will be needing a long time to adapt. When he first arrived in Turkey he had an immediate impact, Cenk was born and raised in Germany as you may know. He’s a Muslim, but he’s used to the Western-European culture, he won’t have any trouble adjusting to the lifestyle. The fact that his English is more than adequate is also an advantage for him and I believe it will help him adapt even more quickly.

In truth, all a striker needs is to get on the scoresheet as soon as possible. If Cenk manages to bag himself a few goals early on, he’ll be off to the races. The longer it takes for him to score his first goal, the harder it will get. But that’s the case for any striker. He’s always had a good minute to goal ratio and while he’s never proven himeslf to be a true goal machine, he’s definitely someone to whom scoring goals comes naturally.

Cenk is by no means a trickster or a phenomenal dribbler, but he can surprise his direct opponent with a neat little flick or unexpected turn. He has both the uppper-and lower body strength to trouble the defence, an explosive dash down the wing to set up a goal, or a powerful leap to beat the defender in the air, Cenk is an athlete, there is no question about that.

While footballers earn extravagant amounts of money, they don’t get all that much time off and when they do they tend to want to relax and lay at a beach for a week or two before they have to go back in to training. But not Cenk, sure he’ll go on holiday for a week or so but it back to hitting the gym, cardio and power training to make sure he starts the season in prime physical condition. The schedule of the Premier League clubs is the most crowded in the word, but I don’t see this being an issue for Cenk.

Gökhan Töre flopped, badly, why should we expect Cenk to succeed where he failed?

I’ve seen West Ham fans talk a lot of smack about Gökhan Töre the past year, most of it is warranted. He was a massive disappointment for them – and honestly, for us too. Beşiktaş fans, myself included, expected and hoped that Töre would pave the way for future players from the Turkish league to come to England and make a name for themselves. But unfortunately, Töre didn’t do that. On the contrary, if anything he did the opposite. I’m surprised that Everton are even willing to fork out as much as they did for Cenk, given how the Töre debacle went down.

But Cenk isn’t Töre. I’ve seen Töre being called “the worst footballer i’ve ever seen”, I find that a bit odd since he barely played. How can you conclude that from less than 500 minutes of watching a player, mainly as a sub? I don’t believe you can. However, knowing Töre’s personality. I can’t say I’m too surprised, I don’t think it was ever a question of him not having the talent, I still believe he does. But Töre showed a clear lack of mentality, even in his last season for Beşiktaş, he seemed to be more concerned about joining former coach Slaven Bilic at West Ham than he was with winning the title with Beşiktaş, he was “injured” even for the majority of the second half of the 2015/16 season. Finally, he got his move. And I believe he expected to go in and be Bilic’s prince yet again, but it turned out otherwise. And Töre, unlike Cenk, let his head hang. He expected to be treated as a superstar, to have a guaranteed spot and when that didn’t happen he didn’t have the mentality to earn his spot.

Cenk is a very different guy, throughout his entire career he has had to work hard and prove himself time and time again. He’s relentless, never gives ups and has never complained about sitting on the bench, he just let his feet do the talking, grabbed the opportunities he was presented and worked his way up the ladder. Töre on the other hand, was a top prospect, someone who was playing for the Chelsea academy at a very young age and was constantly being told how talented he was. I believe that there in lies the main difference, Töre might have been (might very well still be) a more talented footballer, but he doesn’t have the mentality of a top footballer, Cenk does and that is why I believe Cenk will succeed where Töre failed.

The only thing I would advice Everton is, get Cenk some competition next Summer, while he is an extremely hard worker and is constantly working to improve, he needs some healthy competition to constantly push his limits and to keep improving, I don’t believe he has reached his ceiling, so it would be a shame not to get the maximum out of his potential.


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