Could Ferdi Kadioğlu be the future of Beşiktaş?

Updated: June 12, 2018

When Oğuzhan Özyakup first arrived on the Beşiktaş scene, now nearly 6 years ago, he was regarded as an upper-echelon talent for the Black Eagles.

Having been trained at AZ Alkmaar and, from the age of 15 onwards, English giants Arsenal FC for whom he even made his senior squad debut in cup competition, Oğuzhan turned out a steal for just €550k.

At the time Beşiktaş were forced to opt for new, young and hungry talent as they were significantly downsizing their contract expendatures as part of their FEDA campaign due to the financial misery former club president Yildirim Demirören left them in.

Now, nearly 6 years later, Oğuzhan has grown from a talented young player who made sporadic appearances in his first season to Beşiktaş captain. But things don’t always turn out that way for young talented players at the big Turkish clubs.

When Galatasaray purchased Bruma from Sporting CP in September 2013 for €10m, the highly regarded Portuguse talent was met by enormous expectations by their fans. Some players may flourish under that kind of pressure, most young players won’t. When Bruma didn’t immediately meet expectations he was relegated to the bench, the following season he made more appearances but still didnt have the desired impact, adding insult to injury he suffered a severe injury which saw him shipped off on loan to Gaziantepspor in order for Galatasaray to free up a foreigner spot.

It wasn’t until Bruma returned from a full season loan at Real Sociedad, in which he played in the majority of games, and until Jan Olde Riekerink put his faith in the youngster that he finally started making good on that €10m fee. Nearly 3 years after first joining Galatasaray, Bruma was finally living up to the hype.

Bruma showed initial promise but couldn’t really back it up in terms of production and no matter what, a player who predominantly functions int he attacking third of the pitch will be expected to be involved in goals. Oğuzhan showed very similar initial promise, with a better end product. But he too didn’t immediately establish himself as the de facto leader he’d later turn out to be.

He too needed a good 3 seasons to fully come in to his own, it wasn’t until the 2015-2016 season, after Slaven Bilic’s departure at Beşiktaş, that Oğuzhan’s star truely began to shine.

With Ferdi Kadioğlu Beşiktaş are now going after a player who they may hope can turn out to be their next Oğuzhan Özyakup. The difference being Ferdi would be only 18 if he were to arrive this Summer, whereas Oğuzhan was nearly 20 when he first came to Beşiktaş.

Like Ozzie, Ferdi has been able to put himself in the spotlight over the past two years. Oğuzhan was the captain of the Netherlands’ u19 side, Ferdi too is featured prominently for the u19 national team. But where Oğuzhan gained some recognition by just being on Arsenal’s payroll, Ferdi has been making a name for himself by making it to NEC Nijmegen’s first team at the tender age of 17, scoring goals against both Utrecht and Dutch giants Ajax immediately put him on the map in his debut season.

Beşiktaş have been tracking the youngster for quite some time and even put in an offer last Summer but Ferdi’s club NEC rejected it as they wanted to build around the then 17-year old, in order to achieve promotion back to the Eredivisie following their relegation in Ferdi’s debut season.

While Ferdi might be a little over a year younger than Oğuzhan was when he first arrived, he has arguably experienced more as a pro-footballer. With two years of senior team experience under his belt, a semi-final at both the 2016 u17 and 2017 u19 EURO tournaments but probably most importantly – plenty of pressure on his shouldners at club level and the subsequent criticism to go with that as NEC failed to achieve promotion back up to the Eredivisie this past season, losing 5-4 on aggregate against FC Emmen during the promotional play-offs. Ferdi has, despite his tender age, experienced more of the maze that is the football world than most kids have at his age.

That experience may benefit him well if he were to move to the European banks of the Bosphorus strait. But that doesn’t mean that expectations should immediately be sky high, while Ferdi undoubtedly has all the tools to make it and achieve his potential, it is still important to realize that he is just an 18-year old young man.

A young man that still has a very long road ahead of him and like Oğuzhan should be given the time to settle and develop further, Ferdi is nowhere near a finished product, he is still a diamond in the rough.

But while Ferdi may need and definitely would deserve the same time Oğuzhan was afforded, Beşiktaş are no longer the club they were 6 years ago. Like Oğuzhan, Beşiktaş have evolved tremendously over the past years. They’ve won back-to-back titles, reached the quarter-finals in the Europa League and dominated their Champions League group. Beşiktaş are at a crossroads, on the edge of taking that next step in their evolution. But their squad is aging and they need to also think of the future, Ferdi Kadioğlu could very well be an instrumental part of said future.

But first things first, Beşiktaş will need to strike a deal with NEC and convince Ferdi and his entourage that his future lays with the Black Eagles. Because contrary to some reports, the deal is certainly not done yet. It will without a doubt be key for them to present Ferdi with a well thought out career trajectory so that he can continue to develop his skills and evolve as a player, which may or may not include one or multiple loan spells. And in a few years, perhaps he can wear the famous #10 jersey that Oğuzhan currently wears and that Sergen Yalçin wore all those years ago.

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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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