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According to reports from Turkish outlet Fotomac, Tottenham Hotspur have been monitoring Besiktas midfielder Tolgay Arslan and are plotting a £9m bid for the player in January.
According to the Northern Echo, the 27-year old was offered to Championship side Sunderland earlier this year, but the Black Cats rejected the opportunity to sign him. However, now Tottenham seem to have been impressed heavily by the player who rejected Arsenal back in 2015 and want to make a move. Another Turkish media outlet, Hurriyet, reports that fellow Premier League side Newcastle United are monitoring him as well.
With the sudden peak in interest in the midfielder, let’s take a close look at who exactly Tolgay Arslan is and what he would bring to the table if he joins Tottenham.
Born in Paderborn, Germany, on 16 August 1990, to Turkish parents, Arslan began his footballing career with local club Grun-Weiβ SC Paderborn as a 6-year-old. Having spent seven years at the club, the midfielder moved on to join the academy of Borussia Dortmund in 2003. In 2007, Arslan broke into the Dortmund U-19 setup and went on to make 54 appearances in which he scored 38 goals and registered 6 assists.
Having failed to break into the first-team at the Signal Iduna Park, Arslan joined Hamburger SV in 2009 on a free transfer. He made only six first-team appearances that season and was loaned out Alemmania Aachen where he made 31 appearances in the second division, scoring six goals. After returning to his parent club in the following summer, he became an important part of the team and played 92 games in total, scoring 2 goals and assisting 6, before joining Besiktas in January 2015.
Since then, he has featured 88 times for the Turkish giants, scoring 2 and assisting 6 goals, and has won the Turkish Super Lig title twice. This season, he has taken the field on 15 occasions in all competition but doesn’t have a goal or an assist to his name.
Eligible to represent both the Turkish and the German national teams, Arslan began with the Turkey U-19 side in 2009 and played for them twice and also featured once for the U-21s. However, he switched allegiances to Germany in 2011. He has played twice for the German U-20 and thrice for the U-21s, with his last appearance coming in March 2013. However, he hasn’t featured for the senior team yet.
An all-round midfielder, Arslan started out as an attacking midfielder, but slowly transitioned into a more traditional central midfielder. He is capable of operating in a defensive anchor role as well.
An extremely effective player on either side of the pitch, Arslan is known for his ability to drive forward from midfield while also being a combative presence defensively. Someone who is always on the lookout to break forward, putting his exceptional dribbling skills to use, the 27-year old is someone who can act as a very effective link between the defence and the attack.
The former German U-21 international is an exceptional passer of the ball as well and is known for his smart usage of possession. Possessing good distribution skills, the midfielder also is good at ball retention and rarely loses possession.
Arslan might not score a lot of goals and his finishing might be suspect at times. However, his energy and ability to operate in various roles in the middle of the park make him a valuable player to have in the ranks.
Arslan may not be a world beater, but he ticks all the boxes to be a useful player for any team he may join. With injuries plaguing the Tottenham midfield duo of Mousa Dembele and Victor Wanyama, Mauricio Pochettino might look to add another body to his squad in the central midfield area, and the 27-year old Arslan would be a decent option, who wouldn’t cost much either.