Cenk Tosun to Everton: The lowdown on the Turkish striker
By Nick Wright
Last Updated: 06/01/18 12:05pm
Everton have completed the signing of Cenk Tosun from Besiktas, but is he right the man to get goals for Sam Allardyce's side?
Sky sources understand the fee to be £27m, with the Toffees announcing the deal for the 26-year-old at half-time of their FA Cup clash at local rivals Liverpool on Friday.
Here, we provide the lowdown on Tosun and get an expert view from former Everton midfielder turned pundit Don Hutchison.
Cenk Tosun factfile
- Previous clubs: Eintracht Frankfurt, Gaziantepspor, Besiktas
- Nationality: Turkish
- Position: Forward
- Height: 6ft
What's his background?
Tosun was born in the German city of Wetzlar and began his career at nearby Eintracht Frankfurt. He rose through the youth ranks there, making his senior debut in 2010 and representing Germany's U21s before switching allegiance to Turkey following a transfer to Gaziantepspor in January 2011.
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Having struggled for playing time at Frankfurt, Tosun was an instant hit in the Super Lig, smashing 10 goals in 14 appearances in the second half of the 2010/11 season. His form dipped in his second campaign as he only netted once in 16 games, but he rediscovered his scoring touch after that.
Having hit double figures for goals in two consecutive seasons with Gaziantepspor between 2012 and 2014, Tosun made the move to Slaven Bilic's Besiktas, where he would go on to win two Super Lig titles, get his first taste of European football, and become a key player for Turkey's national team.
The Besiktas breakthrough
Tosun was behind Demba Ba and Mario Gomez in the pecking order during his first two seasons at Besiktas, but despite mainly featuring as a substitute he still managed six goals in his first campaign and 10 in his second. He would later remember it as a positive learning experience. "I learned a lot from Demba Ba and Mario Gomez," he said. "I developed and gained a lot of experience."
Tosun took centre stage after that, scoring 21 goals and providing five assists as Besiktas won a second consecutive Super Lig title under Senol Gunes in 2016/17. "I increased my goal haul and finally felt ready to break into the starting XI," Tosun added. "The coach trusted me and I'm repaying his faith by scoring."
Cenk Tosun's record at Besiktas
He picked up where he left off in first half of this season. As well as netting eight times in 16 Super Lig appearances, Tosun found the back of the net four times in the Champions League group stage, helping Besiktas reach the last 16 at the expense of RB Leipzig and Monaco.
He has also showcased his talents on the international stage. Turkey's World Cup qualification campaign ended in disappointment as they failed to qualify for this summer's tournament, but Tosun impressed on an individual level, top scoring for his country with five goals in nine appearances. Overall, he has scored eight times in 25 games for Turkey.
What's the expert verdict?
Hutchison, who made 75 Premier League appearances for Everton between 1998 and 2000 - has watched Tosun extensively in his role as a television pundit. He likes what he has seen.
"I know Cenk Tosun quite well in terms of how many times I've watched him," he told Sky Sports. "I keep a little list of players that are sent to other managers and to the chairmen that I know in the Premier League and he's one that I've sent.
"He's not the quickest in the world but I think he's very good. He's lethal on both his left and right sides and he can score headed goals, but he's a team player as well.
"I was doing Besiktas' Champions League game against Porto recently. Tosun got into a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. The harder option was to put it in the back of the net himself so he chose the easier option, which was to put it on a plate for Anderson Talisca. That was a sign to me that he is not too selfish."
Players from the Turkish league have struggled to adapt to the Premier League in the past, but Hutchison believes Tosun can buck the trend.
"I don't care where you are from, if you can score goals and you're a good player that's the most important thing. That's what Everton need because Sam Allardyce has got the team defensively sound. It's now about getting them to play better football and getting goals at the top of the pitch.
"In Tosun, Everton are getting a very good player for quite a cheap price. What is £27m now? As Jose Mourinho said, teams are spending £50m on full-backs these days. So if you can get a centre-forward at half that price who can get double figures for goals every season, then great.
"I don't necessarily believe in stats, I prefer to watch players. I watch people like Harry Kane on his left foot. He scores goals and he doesn't panic. I watch Cenk on his left side and I see that he's Harry Kane-esque in how clinical he is.
"It will take him a little time to get up to speed but he's only 24 so he has time to improve. I don't think he's ever going to be a striker who gets into the high 20s for goals, but if he can get 10 or 15 goals in his first couple of years and Sam can improve him as a player, then all of a sudden £27m will look very good."