While there’s much speculation surrounding Manchester United for the possible move of Juventus star Paul Pogba since the last few weeks, reports claim that gaffer Jose Mourinho is targeting other midfielders too. This includes former Arsenal player Oguzhan Ozyakup. The 23 year old Turkish midfielder has been drawing much attraction from different clubs around Europe for his outstanding performance in the Turkish Super Lig last season. According to Fanatik, a Turkish newspaper; Mourinho heard some good reports on him from West Ham manager Slaven Bilic who managed the midfielder during his tenure as Besiktas manager.
Ozyakup joined Arsenal’s youth academy from Erdivisie side AZ in 2008. He made a decent number of appearances for the Gunners reserve squad until he was called to represent the senior team in 2011. In 2012 he joined Turkish side Besiktas for €500,000. With 110 caps and 19 goals with them, he has been impressive in the recent seasons. An attacking midfielder who generally plays behind the striker. Ozyakup is widely acclaimed for his natural playmaking instinct and is known for his ability to dribble past players at ease and providing the killer final ball on a regular basis; he scored nine goals and provided seven assists playing in a deep midfielder’s role last season while only Nani (71) had played more key passes than him (68) in the Super Lig last season. This great performance didn’t go unnoticed and it drew much attention and interest from clubs in England and abroad.
Born in the Netherlands he represented their U17 team which reached the final of 2009 UEFA U17 Football Championship. He was also included in their U19 squad but he decided to represent Turkey at the age of 19. He scored his first International goal with Turkey against his former national side Netherlands on September 2015 in the Euro 2016 qualifiers which they won 3-0.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has expressed his happiness for the Turk’s successful career. He also mentioned that Ozyakup can run all day, has very good stamina and a good final pass. According to former Besiktas and Turkish forward Feyyaz Ucar, Ozyakup is “skillful” when finishing and possesses high level of anticipation which allows him to be at the right place on the pitch.
The Red Devils have already made three signings in this summer window and have almost sealed the world record deal for Paul Pogba. However, they may allow one player among Juan Mata, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marouane Fellaini to leave, making room for one more midfielder into the squad. Besides Manchester United, Ozyakup is also being targeted by La Liga side Valencia, in their quest to replace Andre Gomes, who has joined Barcelona last week. Arsenal were also interested in bringing their former midfielder back, but Arsene Wenger has stated that he will not be signing any more midfielder this summer following the deal of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach.
Besiktas on the other hand are not ready to lose their key player, still they’re willing to accept a sum of €20m (something around £17m) if the interested parties are ready to bid that amount, which United will be eager to meet up.
It’s a bit absurd that a rival manager (Bilic) has helped another (Mourinho) on selecting a player, given that he (Bilic) himself had the chance to bring his old student back. However it seems that, Bilic has already approved Mourinho’s potential move for the player, as a result there’s a possibility that we could see the former Arsenal youngster back in the Premier League.