Alexander Sorloth: How Crystal Palace outcast has become goalscoring star in Turkey
Norway forward has transformed himself from an Eagles flop into the hottest marksman in Turkey
By Nat Hayward
Last Updated: 27/03/20 5:04pm
Crystal Palace fans could be forgiven for trying to forget about Alexander Sorloth, but the striker's remarkable resurgence in Turkey kept Daniel Sturridge on the sidelines and he has also reportedly popped up on the radar of Real Madrid.
The Norway international, 24, signed for Palace in February 2018 after impressing for Danish Superliga side FC Midtjylland, but flattered to deceive in the Premier League. He was loaned out to KAA Gent just 11 months later after netting just once in 20 appearances and failed to make the matchday squad towards the end of his spell in England.
Sorloth found much-needed game time in Belgium, earning praise from manager Jess Thorup, who he also played under at FC Midtjylland. However, five goals in 22 appearances was not enough for him to force his way into Roy Hodgson's plans for the 2019/20 season, with the Palace manager allowing him to leave on a two-year loan deal to link up with ex-Liverpool striker Sturridge at Turkish Super Lig club Trabzonspor.
Fast forward seven months and Palace fans have much reason to reignite their interest in the forward. Sorloth has scored 24 goals for Trabzonspor this season - as many as his parent club Palace have managed in the Premier League - and has largely kept Sturridge out of the team before his ignominious exit earlier this month. Nineteen of his 24 strikes have come in the league, putting him top of the scoring charts, ahead of ex-Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse.
The rediscovery of the pace and power that made him such a threat in his youth career at Rosenborg, and during loan spells at FK Bodo/Glimt and Midtjylland, has also seen Sorloth establish himself as a key part of an exciting Norwegian national team that also features Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Erling Haaland and Real Madrid's prodigy Martin Odegaard.
Sorloth's revival has coincided with Norway's, with the national team looking impressive, especially towards the end of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, remaining unbeaten in their last nine games and managing a draw against heavyweights Spain. In their final two games Sorloth scored twice against the Faroe Islands and once against Malta to ensure a play-off spot for his country, which will look to him and star names Odegaard and Haaland to fire them to the rescheduled tournament in 2021.
Still eight months shy of his 25th birthday, Sorloth has transformed himself from a striker low on confidence and unsure of his future at Palace to one of Europe's most in-form and promising prospects and one who is attracting interest from of all teams, Real Madrid, reports AS.
Despite having another year left on his loan spell at Trabzonspor - who have until May next year to use an option to buy - and two to run on his Palace contract, scouts from several clubs - including Man Utd, says the Sun - have been to watch him this season.
It is the reported interest of the 13-time European champions, though, that has caught Sorloth's attention, with the player telling Norwegian publication Tipsbladt after scoring two goals against Besiktas in February. "It was a bit special to see before a game. I just had to try and use it as best I could to gain more confidence. And I did."
The kind of numbers Sorloth has recorded this season are in sharp contrast to Palace's goal-shy strikers. Jordan Ayew is their top scorer with eight, while Christian Benteke has managed only five goals in his last three seasons and Cenk Tosun - a January acquisition from Everton - is nursing a long-term knee injury.
The uncertainty over when football will return, however, gives Sorloth plenty of time to contemplate his future, with the possible options in front of him a far cry from his dark days in south east London.