Reigning champions Besiktas lost Gokhan Tore to West Ham on loan but more importantly Jose Sosa to AC Milan on a €7.5 million move and Mario Gomez decided not to return after the end of his loan deal with Fiorentina.
Between them Tore, Gomez and Sosa scored 43 goals and provided 19 assists for the Istanbul giants.
There is no denying that the trio will be sorely missed but the Eagles have found replacements – pretty decent replacements as well.
Besiktas left the bulk of their transfer activity until the last week of the transfer window.
Cenk Tosun got his campaign off to a great start scoring three times in his first two games and he’ll be joined by Porto striker Aboubacar who will add much needed firepower going into the Champions League campaign.
Besiktas also brought in Anderson Talisca on a two-year loan from Benfica as a replacement for Jose Sosa. Gokhan Inler has been snapped up from Leicester City adding experience to the midfield.
The Black Eagles have had their biggest overhaul in defence. Gokhan Gonul and Caner Erkin – arguably the best full-back duo in the league over recent years – have crossed the Bosphorus straits from Fenerbahce to join their Istanbul rivals. As you can imagine the double swoop did not go down well with Yellow Canaries fans. Without delving into the ethics of the transfer, on paper it really has strengthened the Besiktas defence. Add Adriano who joined from Barcelona, former Germany intentional Andres Beck and Serbian international full-back Tosic to the mix and there is no denying that this side means business.
Marcelo, Rhodolfo and Atinc Nukan – former Besiktas youngster who has rejoined on loan from Red Bull Leipzig – will compete for a spot at centre-back.
There is a Brazilian flavour to the current side with Adriano, Talisca, Marcelo and Rhodolfo. Ricardo Quaresma is not Brazilian but also speaks Portuguese. The Portuguese speaking connection could help the Brazilian players settle in faster and players from South America do have an impressive track record in the Super Lig however, on the flip side it could create divisions within the camp if the new crew do not mix with the old guard.
Besiktas boss Gunes plays an attacking brand of football and his side did score the most goals in the league last season. The Eagles are already the highest goal scoring side this season with six goals – including four goals against Alanyaspor and two against Konyaspor. The experienced manager has a great track record with strikers and under his stewardship Burak Yilmaz, Fernandao and Mario Gomez have all finished goal king.
The backbone of the team remains intact with Atiba Hutchinson and Oguzhan Ozykaup still in the side. Tolgay Arslan and Veli Kavlak have returned from lengthy injuries and it is worth keeping an eye on Kerim Frei. The former Fulham youngster will get his big break this season and Gunes has a history of developing talent. The former Turkish national team manager was responsible for putting Burak Yilmaz, Selcuk Inan, Ozan Tufan in addition to several other players on the map.
Aras Ozbiliz has been brought into replace Tore and Ricardo Quaresma is enjoying a renaissance, finally knuckling down and living up to his potential. The trivela master played an important role in winning the league title and the Euro 2016 for Portugal.
Besiktas will still be among the favourites in the title race. Gunes is arguably one of – if not the best – manager in the league and has worked wonders with far inferior players in the past. The Eagles will be the side to beat this season.