Cenk Tosun arrives at Everton bearing a particularly large burden. More than anyone - Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Sandro Ramirez, or Oumar Niasse - the Turkish front-man will be expected to replace most of the production of Romelu Lukaku.
On tape, everything looks amazing. Tosun can finish with both feet, is good in the air, and has a dogged, relentless style that will suit the Goodison Park faithful.
As we saw with Niasse, though, there can be serious risks in purchasing a mid-20s player who has never been outside a lower-level league. Arouna Kone scores goals in Turkey. Yeah.
To help us get a better read on how Cenk Tosun might fit in as a Blue, we spoke to Emre from Turkish Football.
RBM: Is there a current striker in Europe to whom you would compare Tosun’s playing style?
Emre: Cenk grew up admiring Gabriel Batistuta but I would say he has shades of Harry Kane. His playing style is similar but he is also quite versatile and can play out wide, as the target man or in a deeper role. A criticism I often hear about foreign transfers is that they ‘don’t get stuck in’. Well Cenk will get stuck in, he won’t shy away from physical duals, will challenge for headers, will chase back and attempt tackles. I suspect his style will go down well with a British audience. Alan Shearer even said he reminds him of a younger version of himself when Turkey played England at the Etihad stadium last summer.
RBM: What are his negatives and downsides? Tosun’s ability is clear to see, but there is some risk involved for Everton in buying a mid-20s player from the Super Lig, right?
Emre: Cenk is not exactly lightning quick, although saying that, he has impressive acceleration over short distances.
He was a late bloomer. In fact not a lot was expected of him. The first time I met Cenk and saw him play in person was back in 2014 for the Turkish A2 national side vs England C at Princes’ Park in Kent - a far cry from the glitz and glamour of the Champions League.
Lets just say he was bullied around by a team comprised of lower league players. His development has been incredible. Cenk’s biggest strength is his determination. He has grafted for everything he’s achieved. He will work and work and work. Cenk is not a quitter, he has perfected his craft over the past few years and become an unrecognisable player.
There is risk involved in any transfer. It is worth underlining that Cenk is a Super Lig player but he was raised at Bundesliga outfit Frankfurt. Also this is a player who helped guide Besiktas to back to back league titles while managing to keep Mario Gomez and Vincent Aboubakar out of the squad.
Another important factor is his Champions League form. Cenk has been able to raise his game and perform better in the the competition than the domestic league. And we are not talking fluke goals and penalties. The goals scored, assists provided and his general contribution to the team were very impressive. I advise anyone with doubts over his talent to watch his last two seasons in the Champions League.
My main concern is more to do with his current manager Şenol Güneş. Cenk metamorphosised into the player he is today under Mr Güneş. I wonder if Big Sam will be able to get him to raise his game and keep developing as well.
RBM: Under Sam Allardyce, Everton’s strikers often cut a lonely figure, and are forced to chase after long balls by themselves, particularly against bigger sides. Is that something that Cenk will be able to adjust to?
Emre: Cenk will work tirelessly. He will do what Big Sam asks of him no questions asked. As I mentioned above he is a versatile player and will chase long balls all match long if necessary. It is also worth mentioning that one of his strengths is being able to anticipate attacking play and make intelligent runs into the channels. He is mobile and powerful. At Besiktas he has at times dropped deep into attacking midfield zones when required creating space for his teammates.
Cenk is used to playing against teams that park the bus. He is also used to being constantly fed balls.
It is however, worth underlining that Beşiktaş played as a counter attacking side in the Champions League (at times) and he gave his finest performances of the season. I was impressed with his movement in counter attacking moves in the Champions League. He didn’t have that in his repetare a few years ago.
RBM: Based off YouTube highlights, Tosun seems like more of a lethal finisher than a creative force, which is what Everton needs. Does the big guy have anything in his locker that might have been underutilized at Besiktas?
Emre: Cenk’s finishing ability needs little introduction. He is lethal at range, in the box, in the air. Give him the ball around the penalty area and he will pose a threat.
Recently we’ve seen Cenk develop playing in a deeper role and contributing more to attacking moves. Some of his assists have been just as impressive as his goals. Considering Everton’s style of play this aspect of his game could end up being utilised more.
But what I admire most about Cenk is his determination. He believed in himself when nobody else did. He never quits. The level of abuse he received early in his career was near unbearable. He went from a third choice striker at Beşiktaş to moving ahead of the likes of Mario Gomez & Aboubakar.
RBM: Finally, tell us how you see Tosun faring in England over the shortand long term.
Emre: is a great player to have in the dressing room. He is rarely involved in controversy. He grew up in Germany and is used to settling in different countries and cities. I do not think he will have issues settling in and he already speaks English so that is another bonus.
Because of Lukaku’s shadow and Everton’s inability to consistently score from open play, Cenk Tosun comes through the doors at Finch Farm facing more pressure from the word go than most incoming transfers.
If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the club are no longer in danger of relegation, and can spend these next few months learning how to play good football again. Tosun is thrilled to be a Blue, and we’re excited to have him - but be patient, and give it time - we don’t need another Davy Klaassen situation on our hands.