Christoph Daum and Frank Rijkaard head the list of new coaching arrivals.
By Mehmet Demircan in Istanbul
Expectations for the new season are higher than ever after Fenerbahce and Galatasaray unveiled top-notch new coaches.
Christoph Daum – a former title winner with Besiktas and Fenerbahce – returns to take charge of Fener, who parted company with Luis Aragones after a disappointing debut season.
The German once said his biggest challenge would be to work in Turkey again, this time for Galatasaray, in order to become the first coach to win the league with the big three. However, Mustafa Denizli got there first, thanks to his recent success with Besiktas, so could the reason for Daum’s return be the reported £3million-a-year salary?
Prior to any official announcement of his appointment, Daum – who exercised a release clause in his contract with German club Koln – said: “I had an offer from one of the best teams in Europe; an offer that I couldn’t refuse.”
Daum’s comeback was all set to be the story of the season for Turkish fans…until Galatasaray came up with an even bigger name: Frank Rijkaard.
When Gala announced the former Barcelona boss was going to be their new coach for the coming season, their website crashed under the weight of traffic from disbelieving fans.
“When I talked to the chairman and the director of football I was impressed. This club has a great history, great fans and the city is wonderful. I’m ready for this adventure,” says Rijkaard.
The arrival of the two new coaches is also expected to be accompanied by an influx of new star players who will give the league a boost.
Despite the presence of big-name imports such as Roberto Carlos, Dani Guiza, Diego Lugano and Alex, plus national-team regulars Volkan Demirel and Semih Senturk, Fenerbahce had a season to forget last term. But re-elected president Aziz Yildirim says it will be a different story next season, claiming: “I promise to our fans that I will get together a star team. I had my concentration not 100 per cent on Fenerbahce – but next season I will.”
Daum is thought to be keen on signing Bayer Leverkusen’s Tranquillo Barnetta and Juventus midfielder Christian Poulsen, while president Yildirim might be prepared to dig deep to bring in someone of the quality of Real Madrid’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
Meanwhile, Galatasaray, through Rijkaard’s connections, are chasing Barca forward Eidur Gudjohnsen, while Blackburn Rovers’ Georgia defender Zurab Khizanishvili is also a target.
Champions Besiktas have already signed Michael Fink from Eintracht Frankfurt and they will also bring in a top striker if they can offload Brazilian Bobo.
Trabzonspor also had plans to acquire a big name, and former Galatasaray coach Graeme Souness arrived for negotiations with the Black Sea club. They soon realised they could not afford him, however, and Klaus Toppmoller is now a target.
While last term’s top two sides, Besiktas and Sivasspor, have stuck with their coaches, Denizli and Bulent Uygun respectively, most teams appear not to have learned any lessons from last season.
A total of 37 coaches worked for the 18 top-flight teams during the last campaign, with Kocaelispor, Denizlispor, Konyaspor and Ankaragucu employing four coaches each over the course of thee season.
While dozens of coaches, and hundreds of players, come and go, it seems many clubs are still to realise that success comes with stability.