On 17 August there will be given start of the new season in Turkish Super Lig. Reigning champions Galatasaray gonna try to retain their title. Can they win Turkish league for the 20th time or there will be new champion crowned at the end of season?
Last season turned into an exciting journey, as Galatasaray was joined by two well-known players - Ivorian football legend Didier Drogba and former Intemazion-ale midfielder Wesley Sneijder. They both had some impact in Galatasaray's success on local stage and in UEFA Champions League but most mportant thing was the interest they helped to create around the club.
This summer has been relatively silent for Galatasaray. No major signings or departures have seen in Istanbul. Squad is almost the same as it was the last season. Only major transfer was made already in May, when Galatasaray paid €6.3 million to Lille for 27 years old Cameroonian centre back Aurelien Chedjou Cameroon Internationa made more than 150 appearances for LOSC and he was a vital part of team in last five seasons. Chedjou definitely is going to strengthen the defensive line O' Galatasaray and for relatively small sum. Turkish grand has bought solid defender, who stil has some space for improvements.
Galatasaray also used the option to make permanent acquisitions of the Felipe Melo and Umut Bulut, who previously played for The Lion on loan.
Nothing has changed with Burak Yilmaz Striker, who has been simply amazing in last few seasons seems to be staying with Galatasaray. We've seen a lot of rumours this summer about his potential move to England or Germany but now it looks that he's ready to stay in Turkey and once again impress everyone on European stage. If Yilmaz gonna be healthy throughout the season, Fatih Tenm can have no worries about his attacking line. Turkish sensation gonna put at least another 25 goals this season. There's no doubt about that.
Without any doubts, Galatasaray are the main favourites in the race for the Turkish Super Lig 2013/14 title. Fatih's Terim's squad is experienced enough to handle the pressure once again and have another memorable journey in the Champions League.
Ambitions and expectations remain high. Squad is strong and experienced enough to bring the Galatasaray fans that milestone 20th title. Of course, they should also impress in UEFA Champions League. Last season proved that Galatasaray could even dream about their place in semi-finals of this tournament, there should be another title for Galatasaray and there should be a solid performance in Europe. Otherwise, that would be a failure because Galatasaray has a great potential.
Fenerbahge can try to catch Galatasaray in terms of national titles. They have 18 titles, while their main opponents have 9. If they gonna lose title to Galatasaray once again this season, it will be harder to catch them later. Each season matters.
Comparing to the activity of their direct opponents, Fenerbahge has been very active in this transfer window. They already have spent more than €30 million on transfers. Biggest transfer came in these days, when there finally was completed a move of Nigerian striker Emmanuel Emenike from Spartak Moscow. Turkish club paid €15 million for this move. There were also some other interesting additions bought by Fenerbahge this summer. €7.25 million were paid for talented midfielder Alper Potuk €5.5 million were paid to Zenit St. Petersburg for Portugal international Bruno Alves, who mainly plays as centre back. Fenerbahge aiso pa d €4.5 million for Czech wmgback Michal Kadlec, who previously played in German Bundesliga club Bayer 04.
Fenerbahge shewed some inspiring football in last season's UEFA Europa League edition, getting into semi finals. Even despite that, at the end of season club faced managerial changes. Aykut Kocaman resigned, after telling that he's tired and his place was taken by former Turkey national team coach Ersun Yanal.
Arrival of new manager always is a 50/50 situation. He can succeed and he can also fail. Yanal has a good collective of players to work with, there's a plenty of experienced and well-known names in his squad. Main queston is - will he handle this pressure? I can see Fenerbahge standing tai in matches against Galatasaray. Team is getting stronger but it still gonna be a tough exam to somehow strip Galatasaray off the title.
Beşiktaşfinished third last season and at the end of ast season, management of club decided to invite a new manager. When I heard his name, I was very surprised. Former Croatia and Lokomotiv Moscow manager Slaven Bilic was appointed as a head coach of Beşiktaş.
Honestly, I find it really curious that management of Beşiktaş selected Bilic as the best candidate for this job. He didn't impressed at all while coaching Russian Premier League side Lokomotiv Moscow. Even more, Lokomotiv had worst season in Russian league since 1992. That's not really an achievement you could be proud about. Of course, everyone can make mistakes and maybe Croatian gonna prove that all his critics are wrong but anyway, it will be really tough to impress Beşiktaş rans. They're used to see their team at least m top three and they always are dreaming about new trophies and moments full of joy. It's an ambitious club and Bi c will have to handle that pressure. He will have to bring those results immediately. Another failure could put a cross on his managerial career.
Management of Beşiktaş has been very active this summer. They brought a ot of new faces to Istanbu: €2.75 million were paid to Trabzonspor for 29 years oid Turkish goalkeeper Tolga Zengin. For a €2.4 million The Black Eagles purchased 22 years old and versatile Colombian defender Pedro Franco. He previously played for Millonanos. There were also transfers of former Gaziantepspor defender Serdar Kurtulus (€1.75 m) German-born Turkish midfielder Sezer Oztiirk (€1.5 m) and 24 years old strike' Omer Sismanoglu (€1.4 m), who previously played for Antalyaspor.
All positions have been more or less strengthened. Now it's all up to Slaven Bilic. Besiktas had solid number of scored goals last season (2nd best in Super Lig) but they were also conceding a sot of goals. That's a key moment for them. Bilic needs to keep attack on same level t was last season and he definitely needs to improve the defensive work of his new team. There's enough space for improvements. Bilic will find the way how to solve this problem, Besiktas could cause some problems for it's neighbours - Galatasaray and Fenerbahge. Of course, fans expect Besiktas to get into Europa League group stage and show some good football on European stage.
2013/14 season will be 56th season of the Super Lig. Just three teams have never been relegated from Super Lig. Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and also Besiktas. Those three teams are going to play in Super Lig this season too.
Those are the tearms that could battle for the place in the European competitions. These teams have some individually strong players, who performed we ast season. Such, like Kalu Uche (Kasampasa), Pablo Batalla (Bursaspor), Djalma Campos (Kasimpasa) or Bobo (Kayserispor).
If we look at these four teams, Kasimpasa was the most active club n this transfer window, spending almost €5.7 million on Sanharib Malki (from Roda JC), Ezequiel Oscar Scarione (St. Ga en) and Orhan Sam Fenerbahge).
There could be some improvements from Sivasspor. Club from Sivas will be now managed by Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos That will be first serious managerial experence for former World Cup winner. Sivasspor also strengthened their squad with Peruvian striker Heman Rengifo (€0.8 m), 27 years old Portuguese centre back Manuel da Costa (€2.2 m) and there Utaka. 31 years old Nigerian has some solid experience in France and England. Last season he scored 6 goals in 28 games.
Overall,i t looks that Super Lig is slowly becoming stronger and high-profile players are interested to join Turkish teams. Last season we saw Drogba and Sneijder coming in, this season Trabzonspor was joined by two former Chelsea defenders - Florent Malouda and Jose Bosingwa. They are far away from their prime but playing for Trabzonspor may be the chance to shine once again. Hope they will take an example from Drogba, who's a real professional. He gives 100% efforts every game.
There's still plenty time left till the closing of transfer window and situation can change dramatically just in a few hours. However, I believe that this is going to be a great season. Full of exciting matches and surprises. It's worth to follow the Super Lig.