According to reports, Hakan Calhanoglu, the latest rising star of the Bundesliga, has been heavily linked with Liverpool, as the Reds continue to look at rediscovering last season’s performances.
The Reds saw great potential in Calhanoglu over the summer, but opted instead to sign fellow Bayer Leverkusen man, Emre Can, who has so far failed to make any meaningful impact at Anfield this season – largely through injury. Whilst the young international was surfacing all over Brendan Rodgers’ radar last summer, the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea have both since expressed an interest in bringing Hakan Calhanoglu to the Premier League.
At only 20-years-old, Bayer’s newest asset has been labelled the ‘new Mesut Ozil’ for his calm composure on the ball and ability to pick out a fine pass. Calhanoglu also shares the fact that that he was born in Germany, but to Turkish heritage like the current Arsenal playmaker. Unlike Mesut Ozil, however, Bayer’s No. 10 has opted to represent Turkey on the international scene instead of his place of birth.
Hakan Calhanoglu signed for Leverkusen in the summer for a fee of around €12.5 million. He has now won fans over as the best free-kick taker in the Bundesliga, with comparisons with other great set-piece specialists, such as Juninho and David Beckham, already surfacing around the young Turkish international. Calhanoglu has scored seven free kicks across two seasons in the German top flight, with converted dead-ball opportunities flying in against the likes of Werder Bremen, Schalke 04 and FC Koln already in 2014.
Bayer’s No. 10 also has a flair for long-range finishing. Just last weekend Calhanoglu scored his first non-set-piece goal for his new team, with a rocket lob against Lucien Favre’s Borussia Monchengladbach. Manuel Neuer has also felt the full force of the young midfielder, after the current BayArena favourite blasted in a low shot for Hamburger SV against the almighty Bayern in 2013/14. Calhanoglu’s finest goal, however, came against Jurgen Klopp’s Dortmund side last in season’s campaign.
From no less than 40 yards out, the daring Turk sent a crazy free-kick past a flailing Roman Weidenfeller in the BVB net. It was simply an out of this world finish and was rightly touted as one of the best goals in European football last season. Calhanoglu now has seven goals in 25 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen, which is impressive considering that he is predominantly a midfielder, not a striker.
Whilst the 20-year-old may not appease Brendan Rodgers’ current striking woes at Anfield this season, Calhanoglu would certainly give the Reds that bit more creativity they need in front of goal. Although the ‘new Mesut Ozil’ is very much of the Markovic/Lallana mould, his set-piece prowess gives him an asset that simply can’t be found amongst Liverpool’s other attacking midfielders.
Rodgers’ has seemingly lost out on signing Calhanoglu on the cheap, however, as the young midfielder is now gaining widespread praise from everyone involved with the Bundesliga and beyond. The Liverpool boss may have to re-evaluate his transfer policy and spending practises after missing such a great opportunity for his club.
Fans of the English football will certainly like to see the young international make it to the Premier League, as Hakan Calhanoglu is undoubtedly one of football’s brightest stars in the making.