Beşiktaş midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup has had a terrific season playing a key role in his side winning the league title.
The Black Eagles want to keep hold of their star man this summer but club president Fikret Orman did himself state that if Özyakup were to leave he would only accept a bid from a club of the stature of United.
1. Leadership quality
Beşiktaş were left with a number of issues following the departure of Slaven Bilic over the summer. The most poignant of them being who would be able to fill in for the injured Tolgay Arslan and Veli Kavlak who were ruled out until the turn of the year. Head coach Şenol Güneş decided to put his trust in Özyakup and the former Arsenal man has not disappointed. The 23-year-old has had to play as a central, defensive and attacking midfielder at times this season but has taken to the challenge with open arms and established himself as the leader in this Beşiktaş side. Özyakup has improved defensively averaging 1.5 tackles and 1.9 interceptions per-gamg in all competitions and has strengthened physically. The creative midfielder played a major role in Besiktas winning the league title last season scoring 10 times and providing 8 assists.
The pressure and expectations put on the major clubs in Turkey has to be seen to be believed. West Ham boss Slaven Bilic recently stated that his experience in Turkey is an important factor behind his form against the toughest sides in the Premier League. The Hammers beat Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City away this season but Bilic failed to win a single derby during his time at the Black Eagles. “I always remember the Istanbul derbies and what went wrong, whenever we face the giants in England I refer back to those big games in Turkey,” Bilic told Fanatik. Özyakup has gained valuable experience being a key player at a club that challenge for the league title every season and that have had important victories in Europe against Liverpool and of course Arsenal rivals Tottenham.
3. Premier League experience
Özyakup is no stranger to England or Premier League football having been schooled by Arsenal as a youth player growing up watching Cecs Fabregas on the training ground. The 23-year-old even spent time living with former Manchester United star Robin van Persie during his time in North London. The central midfielder played a major role in Arsenal’s Under-18s side that won the Premier Academy League title in 2009 before joining Beşiktaş in 2012 for a fee of €500,000. The Turkish international would not require a work permit either as he was born in the Netherlands and would have met the criteria needed to gain permission from the FA even if he wasn’t – due to his involvement in the national team.