Will Atletico Madrid move prove a step towards greatness for Arda Turan?

There is a general belief in the circles of Turkish football that to become recognised as a great of the national game, you must conquer Europe.

Like Columbus crossing the Atlantic, the jump from the Super Lig to one of Europe’s top leagues can seem a million miles away for many.

Even the likes of Sergen Yalcin, Bulent Korkmaz and Hami Mandirali - all well known names of the domestic game – failed to reach Europe despite careers that reaped cabinet’s full of trophies.
It is no wonder then that, with the latest golden boy of Turkish football to have made his leap to Spain, the hype around 24-year old Arda Turan is sky high, to put it lightly.

Arguably the most talented Turkish footballer for a decade, Arda’s move to Atletico Madrid for a reported €12 million has sent the local media loco, but signifies an ambition beyond the celebrity culture of the Turkish Super Lig.

You only have to look back at this interview to see a player who’d pretty much had enough of Turkey and the lack of any sort of private life off the pitch.

It seemed like breaking point had been reached when Arda, having spent most of the season on the treatment table, snapped back at accusations that his sex life was to blame for his persistent injuries.

“They even have the cheek to put a photo of my girlfriend and I in the papers. I’ve had enough of some things here. This country has problems,” he said, before asking the camera to cut while he regained his composure.

Understandably, the vultures of Europe began to circle as the news of his dissatisfaction filtered through the continent. The player, who made his name on the European stage at Euro 2008 thanks largely to a last minute goal against Switzerland, was on the market.

First it was Chelsea. Guus Hiddink was in talks to take over from Carlo Ancelotti and had told Arda he wanted to take him with him to Stamford Bridge.

When that move failed to materialise, Atletico stepped in once again and even the return of Fatih Terim, The Emperor, as Galatasaray manager was not enough to keep him with Cim Bom.
Now in Madrid, Arda can hopefully look forward to getting a career that had been appearing to stall back on track.

There is no doubt he has the quality to achieve big things at the highest level in Europe, and in Atletico he will find himself at a club who will allow him attacking freedom he craves.

Unlike Tuncay and Emre before him, Arda is not a player renowned for his battling style of play, but in Spain, with his natural ability to use both feet and low sense of gravity, he is sure to do well.

While Atletico are famously erratic with their results, you only have to look at the club’s €40 million investment in FC Porto striker Radamel Falcao as evidence of their ambition for the coming season.

A front three of Forlan, Arda and Falcao would be a force to be reckoned with.

So it’s goodbye and good luck Arda. We expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this young man over the coming month.