In the midst of the never-ending Gigio-saga, Milan management impressively found the time to open up negotiations with Bayer Leverkusen over the services of Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu. The 23-year-old has impressed in the Bundesliga for the last four seasons now, but what can the fans expect from him? Rossella Marrai-Ricco spoke to Turkish coach and analyst Muhsin Ertugral about the rising star.
Yesterday saw the return of the famous #MirabelliMonday hashtag – a term used when Rossoneri management confirm news on the happenings in the transfer market, and to no surprise, it was trending…
Calhanoglu is said to have already agreed a move to the club, and all that remains is to finalise talks with the German club. A reported figure between €20-30 million has been bandied about, and if he does pen in a deal with Milan; it would make him the fifth signing under the new Chinese owners.
Born in the German city of Mannheim, Calhanoglu has largely drawn comparisons to Germany’s World Cup winner Mesut Ozil for the way he commands the midfield through his passing ability. However, it is his skills on set-pieces, which has caught the attention of many suitors.
Since the 2013/14 campaign, the youngster has netted an impressive tally of free-kicks, 11 to be exact – the most scored by any player in the Europe’s Big-Five leagues. Ertugral, though, feels there is much for to his game than striking a dead ball.
“Hakan has become more a complete player in recent years. He has developed his defensive approach to the game better,” reveals Ertugral.
“His set-piece ability is a big specialty of his. His major strength for me is the deep passes behind the lines, where he can connect the striking department.
“Looking deeper into today’s type of game, and analysing it properly, it is a major weapon to have players they can execute. Italian teams are very organised, so to score from set pieces during a complete season will come to high margin. For any team today it’s a must to have such a player.”
One of Milan’s biggest flaws in recent years was their ability to find a midfielder, who can feed the strikers with consistently well-executed balls – an area where Calhanoglu can help bridge the gap, having created seven assists in just 15 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen.
Vincenzo Montella will certainly be pleased should Massimiliano Mirabelli and Marco Fassone pull off another excellent coup in the transfer market, adding to the list of new arrivals: Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Mateo Musacchio and Franck Kessie. All these players were reportedly sort after by other clubs too.
Ertugral admits that he is happy to see more top-end talents joining Serie A clubs, and feels that Calhanoglu will only but gain crucial experience should he pull on the red and black jersey.
“Most of the players in recent years wanted to go to the Premiere League or to La Liga, but Italy has gained interest of top players once again. The quality is rising again, and I think he will gain great experience,” adds the former coach.
“Milan is a huge club and a big step for him. It’s important that his defensive approach, as mentioned, has developed to a better degree, which is very imperative to play in Italy.
“For sure, his age is on his side, and playing in very competitive leagues will help the Turkish National Team.”