Why £20m Tottenham & Newcastle target Cenk Tosun is more of an Alan Shearer than a Vincent Janssen
The first time I watched Cenk Tosun in person was a few years back in south-east London playing for Turkey A2 against the England C national side.
So if the question you are wondering is… can he do it on a cold, windy night in Dartford? well, yes he can.
Premier League sides Newcastle United, Tottenham and Crystal Palace have all been scouting the 26-year-old.
Turkish-Football have repeatedly reported all three clubs keeping tabs on the striker.
Additionally The Sun also confirmed that the three clubs mentioned are monitoring his progress.
At this stage we cannot consider Crystal Palace as being a viable destination for a man hoping to win his third consecutive league title and make it to the next round of the Champions League.
Tottenham and Newcastle United could however, tempt him into a move.
See More: Tottenham’s Harry Kane lose out on Champions League goal of the week to Turkish international
Now back to the clash at Princes Park, Kent. It was a world away from the glitz and glamour of Champions League football but the reason I mention it is to give you all some insight into just how far he has come over the past few years.
Turkey ended up winning the game 1-0 but it was hardly a game to remember. One thing did stand out. Tosun was incredibly hard working, he was not very technical at that stage or a consistent finisher but boy he tried.
Turkey – Croatia 1-0 Cenk Tosun ⚽ pic.twitter.com/3Xea8wrfoh
— L_F (@l_f_tw) September 5, 2017
Back then Tosun was playing for the now relegated Gaziantepspor.
Few could have predicted Tosun’s meteoric rise from zero to hero.
The powerful striker got his big break in the summer of 2014 when Besiktas signed him as a free transfer after an impressive stint with the Falcons scoring 14 times over the 2013-14 season.
It is worth pointing out that Tosun was signed as a third-choice striker. Today it seems laughable but he was behind the likes of Mustafa Pektemek in the pecking order.
Not one for complaining, he put his head down and got to work. The Turkey international may have been second fiddle to Demba Ba but he scored nine times in 28 appearances in his first season including a Europa League goal against Tottenham.
The following season Besiktas signed Mario Gomez but Tosun managed to give him a run for his money netting 17 times – including two in the Europa League – and providing six assists.
Tosun was beginning to stir up a debate. The general consensus was that of him being a decent backup but by now a few people started to see the potential.
Besiktas ended up winning the league title and Tosun had won over a lot of fans in managing to compete with Gomez for a first team spot.
The 26-year-old started last campaign as second-choice to Vincent Aboubakar but soon established himself as the Black Eagles first option.
Tosun netted 24 times including the Champions League goal of the group stage for his volley in the 3-3 draw against Benfica as well as a further three goals in the Europa League.
2. Cenk Tosun v Benfica pic.twitter.com/phB4zMBZHP
— Mitch (@MitcheIIProcter) June 21, 2017
Yet again Besiktas won the league and Tosun was the star of the show.
The now star striker had come a long way. Most is most admirable is his work-rate. He never stops training and is always striving to improve.
When Turkey took on England last summer at the Etihad in the first of their Euro 2016 build-up matches it was Tosun that Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer singled out for praise.
“He reminds me of myself when I was younger,” Shearer said after the game.
Tosun was chuffed with being compared to Shearer: “It is an honour to be compared the Alan Shearer, I know I still have to still improve but this kind of praise can only help.”
In many ways Tosun is the type of player traditional Premier League fans most admire. He embodies the values most admired in British ‘get stuck in’ footballing culture. The antithesis to Mesut Ozil’s languid style which infuriates fans and pundits week in week out. But he is not all brawn over brains either. There is a subtle sophistication to his game that often goes unnoticed.
The Tosun of today has developed every aspect of his game, finishing, technique, aerial ability, his off the ball. He can hold up play, be deployed as a lone forward and even feature out wide.
It is quite astonishing to see just how far he has come in a short time. And he shows no sign of stopping.
The Turkish national team crashed out of the World Cup qualifiers but one player who can hold his head up is the Besiktas man. He scored a wonderful brace against Finland taking his tally in all competition this season to seven.
There is no denying the man is in great form and furthermore that he is a very dangerous striker. But have we not seen this before? a player lighting up a foreign league and then flopping in England.
Vincent Janssen may spring to mind considering Tottenham are keeping tabs on Tosun.
Afterall Janssen joined on the back of a 32-goal campaign for AZ Alkmaar, and yet he ended last season with only six goals in 39 appearances for the North London outfit.
But there are a few fundamental differences.
First and foremost European competition form. Tosun has not just proven himself in the league or for country. He also has an impressive record in Europe.
Janssen started all six group stage games in the 2015/16 Europa League but scored just once.
Tosun already has three goals and an assist in the Champions League this season – including goal of the week in the 3-1 win over Porto. We already mentioned his exploits in Europe last season.
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To be frank it is also worth mentioning that the Super Lig today is a tougher league than the Eredivisie. Like the Premier League it is very physical and while Tosun is a Turkish international he was born in Germany and rose through the German system at Eintracht Frankfurt before moving to Gaziantepspor.
Tosun has been a late bloomer but he has reached such a level that he is capable of owning Champions League, Istanbul derby and international games.
The £20 million price tag Besiktas have placed on him may seem steep but in today’s market it offers good value.
Tosun has the attributes for Premier League football and if he wins the league for a third season while continuing to impress in the Champions League again that fee is going to seem a bargain.