Who is Man United & Tottenham target Cengiz Under?
Manchester United and Tottenham have both been closely linked with Basaksehir rising star Cengiz Under.
Radyospor are claiming that that Spurs have struck an £8 million [€9m] deal with the Istanbul based outfit.
See More: Man United suffer transfer blow as Tottenham strike £8m deal over 19-year-old wonder-kid nicknamed ‘Turkish Dybala’
Turkish-Football meanwhile reported that Eastern European chief scout Krsto Kilibarda was spotted at a Basaksehir game two weeks ago keeping tabs on the young winger.
Basaksehir president Goksel Gumusdag confirmed Premier League sides have been scouting Under.
“There were scouts from Premier League scouts and La Liga teams at the Besiktas derby,”Gumusdag was quoted as saying by Turkish-Football.
“I will reveal the details at the end of the season as I do not want to distract the team.
“We do not want to sell Under but will discuss this once the season is over.”
So who is Cengiz Under?
Under first made a name for himself at Altinordu, joining the Izmir based outfit aged 15 – along with former youth academy coordinator, Seyit Mehmet Ozcan who took over as president – rising through the youth ranks of one of the most peculiar clubs in Turkey.
For a country of 80 million people with the youngest population in Europe Turkey has not exactly set the continent alight with homegrown talent. There has been Tugay Kerimoglu, Nihat Kahveci and Arda Turan but considering Germany has produced a higher calibre player from her Turkish diaspora population – which numbers in the region of 3-4 million – that Turkey. The likes of Hakan Calhanoglu, Mesut Ozil, Hamit Altintop, Ilkay Gundogan, Emre Can and co are all ethnic Turks but all were born and raised in Germany.
Turkish clubs have simply neglected youth development for years but Altinordu plan to spark a revolution. The Izmir side have invested heavily in building a state of the art academy with acres of land on which to nurture stars of the next generations.
Altinordu’s utopian goal is to create a first team comprised entirely of in house players. The club are still in the early stages of realising their dream but they have already started to produce some exciting talent. The Red Devils endeavours have attracted scouting teams from across Europe. A source close to the club revealed to Turkish-Football.com that several clubs including Manchester City regularly send scouts to keep tabs on their youth players.
Altinordu have already started exporting talent. Twenty-year old centre-back Caglar Soyuncu was snapped up by Bundesliga outfit Freiburg last summer. Meanwhile, 19-year-old Cengiz Under joined Basaksehir on a £600,000 move and made a name for himself as one of the transfers of the season.
Basaksehir were not supposed to challenge for the title this season but that is exactly what they did. The Istanbul minnows operating on a shoestring budget took Besiktas to the wire, losing out on the championship in the penultimate week of the season.
The Istanbul based side have booked a place in the Champions League next season and will face Konyaspor in the Turkish Cup final. An incredible achievement. And part of the reason behind their success has been Under.
The young forward is left-footed and plays predominantly on the left wing but has played on either flank, as well as behind the striker and up front this season.
Under has netted nine times this season and provided seven assists. It is worth underlining that most of his goals have been pretty spectacular displaying an impressive long range shooting ability as well as brilliant technique as the video below demonstrates.
Under was recently singled out by UEFA and described as being a wonder-kid.
The rising star has also managed to earn himself as place in the Turkish national team and repaid head coach Fatih Terim with a goal on his official debut against Moldova.
What the future holds?
United have never had a Turkish first-team player however, Jose Mourinho has a history of working with Turks. The Portuguese manager brought in Mesut Ozil, Hamit Altintop and Nuri Sahin to Real Madrid during his time in charge of the La Liga champions.
Spurs meanwhile have not had a Turkish international either as far as we are aware. Considering the large Turkish community based around the Tottenham the North London based outfit could hit two birds with one stone. Sign themselves one of the most exciting players in the Super Lig before his price rises and increase their Turkish fanbase both domestically and outside of England.
Under is undoubtedly one of the most exciting talents to emerge from the Turkish league in recent years and a player worth keeping a close eye on as he is a name we will be hearing a lot more in the near future.