Who is Cenk Tosun, Everton’s £27 million signing from Besiktas?
After a troublesome opening to the 2017-18 Premier League campaign, new Everton boss Sam Allardyce has wasted little time in making his mark after it was announced that a deal has been completed for Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun.
Despite spending well over £100million during the summer transfer window on a number of well-known players from across Europe the Toffees new-look squad have struggled to gel together, leaving them inside the bottom three in late October and resulting in the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
The Everton board took their time in finding a new man in charge, with David Unsworth managing standing at the helm for five weeks before appointing survival extraordinaire Allardyce.
But results have already remarkedly improved in the ten games since the former England manager took over, winning six of his first seven matches and going nine games without tasting defeat to ease any real relegation worries and lift Everton into the top-half.
It seems that Allardyce has well and truly steadied the ship on Merseyside and it’s now his time to start putting his own slant on the squad, beginning by filling the massive hole left by Romelu Lukaku.
The Boot Room takes a look at Everton’s new £27million striker, Cenk Tosun.
Who is Everton’s new signing?
Born in Germany, Tosun began his footballing career at Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in their youth ranks from the age of six, working his way up the age groups before breaking into the reserves.
Despite featuring heavily for their reserve side he struggled to make the leap into first-team, and Bundesliga, football, making just one appearance when he came off the bench as a 75th minute sub back in 2010.
His frustration at a lack of game-time in Germany led him to Turkish Super Lig side Gaziantepsor, and he made an immediate impression by scoring 10 goals in just 14 appearances during his first season.
It was there that he was awarded his debut call-up to the Turkish national side in 2013, coming on late against the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier to make his international bow, and it was during this breakthrough year that he caught the eye of Turkish giants Besiktas.
The 15-time Super Lig winners secured the services of Tosun on a five-year deal back in 2014 and, despite playing second-fiddle to both Demba Ba and Mario Gomez for a few seasons, the young striker became a regular for the 2016-17 campaign and repaid the faith with 24 goals in another title-winning year for Besiktas.
It was this level of performance that caught the eye of Crystal Palace over the summer, according to the Evening Standard, but Tosun decided against a move to England and recently helped his side reach the Champions League last-16.
He’s also continued to impose himself on the international stage, scoring five times in Turkey’s recent World Cup qualifying campaign to end as their top-scorer – despite the fact they failed to make the finals in Russia later this year.
What does the Turkey international have to offer the Toffees?
On paper, he has the attributes needed to be a success story for a meagre price.
The 26-year-old might not be known for his speed, and he won’t win many foot races with the Premier League’s quickest defenders, but he’s an intelligent striker and has a keen eye for goal.
Much like Lukaku before him he’s more than capable of scoring with both feet as well as with his head, and this triple threat could really benefit an Everton side with only 25 goals from 22 games.
His record speaks for itself, finding the net 24 times for Besiktas last season in 45 appearances before continuing this form into the opening half of 2017-18 where he’s scored 12 times in just 22 matches, and it’s fair to say he’s a man brimming with confidence.
His proven prowess runs deeper than just goals though, earning eight assists over the past 12 months, and it’s this ability to be unselfish that could help Everton’s attacking midfielders thrive.
At 26-year-old he’s at the peak of his physical form and after playing in a rough Turkish league he will be more than up for the Premier League’s physicality, holding the ball up for his new teammates.
There will no doubt be those claiming that the Turkish league doesn’t compare to the test of the Premier League, and they may be right, but he’s proven himself to be a potent threat in the Champions League group stages and he has helped Besiktas progress with four goals in six matches.
Time will tell whether he has the potential to make an impact in a whole new league but at little over £27million in the current market it can be considered a steal, and Tosun could be worth a risk.
Where will he fit in at Goodison Park?
This is perhaps a more straightforward question.
It’s been no secret over the opening four months of the Premier League season that a glaring error was made by those in charge of recruitment at Goodison Park when they failed to replace star forward Romelu Lukaku following his £75million switch to Manchester United during the summer.
To say it was an oversight from ex-boss Ronald Koeman to re-invest that money in every position except from a striker would be massively underplaying it, and Allardyce has made no such mistake.
The likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse have both showed promise at different times this season but neither are likely to get close to Lukaku’s ability to consistently find the net on 20 occasions, with the Belgian setting a high precedent with his record 25 goal haul achieved last year.
Tosun will be used to spear-head a limp Everton attack, acting as a focal figure for the Toffees’ attacking midfielders and giving them an outlet in front of goal that has proven himself in Europe.
It would be little surprise to see him thrown in at the deep end as soon as possible too, and Allardyce will be hoping that he can be the player to start to pull the Everton jigsaw together.
What has Allardyce had to say?
It appears that the Everton boss has had his eyes firmly set on the 26-year-old for a while now, claiming in a recent interview with BBC Sport that he hopes Tosun will show that he’s good value for money in the current market.
In the same interview, he went on to say:
“I think that if we get the transfer done and he is successful by scoring a lot of goals for us then it will be an exceptionally good deal that we’ve done.
“It’ll be down to him when he signs on to prove us all right.”
Tosun could be set for his first appearance in an Everton shirt – and for his Premier League debut – as soon as next Saturday afternoon when the Toffees travel to Wembley Stadium to face Tottenham.