Besiktas sporting director Ceyhun Kazanci: A Turkish team can win a European cup again
As Turkey awaits the Champions League final, one of its most famous clubs is aiming to plot a course that will enable them to compete for major European honours. On Wednesday Besiktas finished the season third, 10 points behind the champions, Galatasaray, a big jump from sixth the previous year, their lowest position in more than two decades. The sporting director, Ceyhun Kazanci, is in charge of mapping the Black Eagles route back to the top and he is taking inspiration from the Premier League.
Last summer six players arrived from England: Nathan Redmond, Wout Weghorst, Romain Sass, Arthur Masuaku, Cenk Tosun and, most notably, Dele Alli. Kazanci believes the Turkish league requires greater physicality and speed. One of the missing things in Turkey was intensity on the pitch, he says. That is why I was focused on Premier League teams.
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Besiktass budget is lower than their rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce but it is important to Kazanci, whose background is in business, not to overpay for foreign players, something that has caused problems in the Super Lig. My focus is to control the budget, he says. I try to take actions that are not popular. It is always easy to be populist, to be a hero in front of the fans because Besiktas, Galatasaray and Fenerbahce, all have around 20 million fans each, so it is not easy to control them and work under the pressure coming from them.