Several top European clubs, including Liverpool, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid, had been chasing Galatasaray and Turkey captain-playmaker Arda Turan for quite some time now.
“The patient dog gets the fattest bone,” they say. Atletico Madrid, popularly known as Los Colchoneros (mattress makers), was the most patient of them all and on Tuesday succeeded in luring the 24-year-old to the Spanish La Liga in a five-year, 12 million euro deal.
Atletico will pay Galatasaray an additional 500,000 euros if it makes the UEFA Europa League proper and 1 million euros if it advances to the UEFA Champions League. Arda himself, the reports said, will be paid 2.5 million euros per annum.
And in a clear sign that a deal had already been sealed, the Galatasaray club informed the İstanbul stock market on Tuesday that talks with Atletico Madrid over the transfer of Arda to the Spanish club were in progress.
“And we will keep the public abreast of any further developments,” a statement posted on the club’s website also said. It is worth noting that this is something the big Turkish clubs usually do only after a deal has been sealed.
The 24-year-old Galatasaray captain will hold a farewell news conference in İstanbul on Thursday (today) before traveling to Madrid. He will undergo a medical on Friday and be presented next Tuesday, Atletico said, just before the La Liga team plays Portugal’s Vitoria de Guimaraes in a Europa League playoff next week.
It was indeed a hectic day for both Galatasaray and Atletico officials at the Hotel Les Ottomans in İstanbul, where the negotiations took place. The Galatasaray delegation included Chairman Ünal Aysal, Deputy Chairman Ali Dürüst and administrator Ali Gürsoy, while Los Colchoneros were headed by CEO Miguel Angel Gil.
And after tough bargaining both sides agreed to agree. “Arda is one of our best players,” Dürüst said after the talks. [Coach] Fatih Terim wants him to stay. But we decided to say ‘yes’ because he wants to have the experience [of playing abroad],” he further noted.
Arda, a natural winger, has not just been one of the best Galatasaray players in recent years, but in the eyes of many faithful fans he has been just the best.
Meteoric rise of young captain Arda Turan
Arda Turan is a product of the Galatasaray youth system, and after a successful spell on loan to fellow Super League side Manisaspor in the 2005–06 season, he was recalled the following season, and quickly made his way onto the first team.
It was at this time that he received his first senior international call-up. Arda quickly impressed then-Galatasaray coach Eric Gerets early in the 2006–07 season. After the part he played in the Champions League qualifiers, which helped Galatasaray reach the group stage, Arda became a first team regular. Arda, then 22, was made captain of the team prior to 2009-10.
Arda featured in nine of Turkey’s 12 qualification matches for Euro 2008 and his outstanding performance at Euro 2008 proper helped the Turks reach the semifinals of the competition, where they were beaten by losing finalist Germany. He has been capped over 40 times with the senior Turkish national team, scoring 10 goals.
Arda was ranked eighth in a selection of the 100 Best Young Football Players in the World that was published by the Spanish magazine Don Balon in July 2008 after his successful Euro 2008 campaign. And in January 2010, Arda was voted the most popular European footballer of 2009, and the second most popular footballer in the world, by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Today’s Zaman wishes Arda all the best in La Liga and in his future endeavors.