Besiktas - The Borussia Dortmund model revisited
Beşiktaş have been forced into drastically changing their transfer policy, approach to youth development and the way in which the club is run due to being hit head on with a crippling economic crisis.
The Black Eagles have felt the repercussions of years of overspending and unsustainable growth.
The club is estimated to be in debt to tune €80-€100 million, a problem chairman Fikret Orman has made his priority to sort out.
At the start of the season we wrote an article concerning the Black Eagles attempts to turn around the fortunes of the clubs.
The newly appointed Beşiktaş Football Development Coordinator Ibrahim Altınsay had unveiled his grand plans of implementing a Borussia Dortmund inspired system.
Well Altinsay is no longer at the club but Beşiktaş have made serious efforts to implement Altinsay's proposals.
In a recent article published on UEFA.com these developments have been put under the microscope:
High earners Fabian Ernst, Egemen Korkmaz, Simão Sabrosa and Ricardo Quaresma were offloaded, and a couple of players accepted reduced salaries as part of a restructuring process. Moreover, eight players were signed in the summer for a grand total of €1.8m.
"In our talks, we put an emphasis on team spirit and the fact that having expensive players in your squad doesn't guarantee success," said football director Semih Usta.
"It can only come with players who have faith in the team." The club also went back to their roots by appointing Aybaba, a former Beşiktaş sweeper and captain from the 1980s and a man renowned for spotting and developing young talent.
The result has been an exciting fusion of seasoned campaigners and promising starlets. "We have young players but they all need time and experience," said Aybaba. "We have to promote one or two to the first team each year.
This is not a common system in Turkey but we want to change that." "We believe our case to be an example for other teams," explained Usta. "People have realised that it's possible to be successful without spending big money.
We made our short-to-long-term plans and will do our best to transform Beşiktaş into a club that pays particular attention to youth infrastructure, facilities and scouting."
Beşiktaş has a network of 65 football academies in every region of the country as well as Germany, England, Holland and as far afield as Nigeria. In fact Beşiktaş has consistently produced some of Turkish football brightest talents since the 90's with the likes of Sergen Yalçın and Nihat Kahveci.
More recently the number of highly rated talents being produced has reached new heights with the likes of Batuhan Karadeniz, Necip Uysal and of course 17 year old wonder kid Muhammed Demirci who even attracted the interest of Barcelona.
Despite nurturing countless potential talents the Black Eagles have up till now failed to utilize their academy players at senior level. The club had instead opted to sideline the their young hopefulls for expensive transfers who have yet to bring the club any meaningful success.
Beşiktaş has the chance to tap into a huge talent pool and radically alter their footballing philosophy in what would be an unprecedented move among Turkey's big 3 (Galatasaray, Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe).
There are signs that the Eagles are taking their new path seriously, the signing of Arsenal youth 20-year-old attacking midfielder Oğuzhan Özyakup for €500,000 has already proven to be a bargain. The young Turkish international already has five assists and two goals to his name.
Dortmund have been very successful in signing relatively unheard of players like Shinji Kagawa on the cheap, selling young talents like Nuri Şahin for a profit and have still been able to win the Bundesliga title back to back and qualify for the Champions League two years running.
Take into consideration that Dortmund were also facing a crisis due to mis-management, a near economic meltdown and €120 million of debt during the mid-2000's.
Beşiktaş may not have a Jurgen Klopp, an 80,000 capacity stadium or an illustrious Champions League history like Dortmund however, if Beşiktaş are able to create a Dortmund model, their current crisis could prove to be a blessing in disguise.
A successful academy system, with the highest level of coaching standards has huge potential. Turkey has 75 million people with the youngest population in Europe, however, has lacked large scale football development institutions like the Clairefontaine system in France, the Cantera's of Spain and the academies of Germany.
Half a season on since we first looked into the Eagles radical shift towards becoming a more sustainable club, even the most diehard Beşiktaş fan would have expected to be in second position just two points off the top spot at this stage in the season.
Beşiktaş have dealt remarkably well with making such dramatic change over a short period of time, the transition to becoming a sustainable, ambitious club won't happen overnight and needs to be implemented for years to come however, the early signs are look promising.