Reports in Turkey are suggesting that Newcastle United may have won the race to sign Oguzhan Ozyakup on a free transfer from Besiktas. CNN Turkey along with Fotospor are just two outlets reporting the news that the former Arsenal player is set to join Rafa Benitez’s side.
It stems from a report by Radio Marca, as reported by Fotospor, that Benitez has met with Ozyakup’s agent Kees Vos and lawyer Alfredo Seco to conclude a deal. The talented midfielder is out of contract in the summer and therefore available on a free transfer and has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe.
The Turkish international will reportedly become Newcastle’s biggest earner as Benitez sees him as a potential Steven Gerrard type for the Magpies.
Benitez arguably got the best football out of Gerrard during his illustrious Liverpool career. It was under Rafa’s guidance that he wrestled the Champions League title from AC Milan in 2005. He also won the PFA Players Player Award in 2006 and Football Writers award in 2009.
Such an influential player is not present at Newcastle United. Whilst Jonjo Shelvey is a talented player, he will never have the same work-rate as Gerrard.
Ozyakup certainly fits the mould in that respect. The Turkish star is relentless on the field and an absolute 90 minute man.
The 25-year-old, who spent four years in the Arsenal academy, is a similar player to Gerrard. He is capable of playing in every area of central midfield. Ozyakup can play the deep holding role, breaking up play and helping defensively.
The Besiktas star can also play box-to-box, perhaps his best position. Ozyakup is equally adept in a number 10 role if called upon, playing on the shoulder of a striker and getting amongst the goals.
If Newcastle do get their man, as reported, then there is every chance he can develop into an important player under Benitez.
There are obvious parallels in style between Ozyakup and the Liverpool legend, but as yet the Turkish star is nowhere near his level. Perhaps playing under Benitez, who worked such wonders with Gerrard, can take Ozyakup to the next step.