Leicester City have been linked with another Turkish defender for a while now – will the Foxes sign Merih Demiral? Emre Sarigul certainly thinks the King Power side should.
Foxes of Leicester wanted to get the lowdown on Cengiz Under, Caglar Soyuncu, and the quality of Demiral and if he may move to Leicester at some point. Who better to ask than Turkish football expert, Emre Sarigul?!
In your opinion, would Turkish centre-back Merih Demiral be a solid addition for Leicester City?
“I think Merih Demiral would be a great fit for Leicester City. In my opinion he’s one of the most promising young defenders in Europe.”
We read your Guardian piece about Caglar Soyuncu; can you briefly tell FoL’s readers about Demiral’s rise to Juventus?
“Caglar started something in Turkey when he left Altinordu in the second-tier for the Bundesliga. Previously most young Turkish players dream was to go to one of the major Super Lig clubs but Cags broke with tradition and aimed higher. Inspiring a whole generation of players to follow in his footsteps. Merih followed a similar path: he left the Fenerbahçe academy for the Portuguese third tier side Alcananse before being snapped up by Sporting. He then returned to Turkey on loan playing for minnows Alanyaspor. He was so impressive that Sassuolo signed him the following season and played him as a first team player in Serie A. Then along came Juventus – and the rest is history.”
Which qualities does Demiral posses?
“Demiral is built for the Premier League: he’s a man mountain, standing 1.90m tall (over 6-foot-two), powerful, dominant in the air with old school qualities that will go down well with the fans. He’s the type of defender who fist pumps after executing a perfectly timed sliding tackle. If you like tough defenders you’ll love him. His technical side was also polished in Italy, he had to develop his passing game which has turned him into a more complete player.”
Special players can make it in the Premier League, as we’ve seen with Cags, has Demiral got that quality?
“Demiral has similar qualities to Caglar: he’s a professional, he genuinely loves football and is a humble person off the field. He had a very tough upbringing and tragically lost his mother when he was in his early teenage years. So he matured at a young age. He is a natural leader, hard working and a special talent”
Furthermore, FoL asked the question we all want to know: the likelihood of a switch to Leicestershire. Along with what happened with Under at Leicester:
How likely is a deal with Leicester, as the Foxes had a bid rejected in November and are known to spend sparingly?
“Juventus are in a strange place. Demiral isn’t too happy with the amount of minutes he is getting and the club may have to sell players this summer after a poor finish. A move this summer is more likely than in November.”
Finally, can you give us your thoughts on Under and his time at LCFC? Although Brendan Rodgers is clearly a master, the Blue Army wanted to see a bit more of Cengo!
“It was unfortunate for Cengo. He never really found his rhythm and injuries didn’t help. I thought he’d settle in better being childhood friends with Cags but it just didn’t happen for him. It’s a real shame as he is a talented player but sometimes it doesn’t work out.”