It’s not just an expensive approach, but a deeply flawed one, prioritizing the signatures of older player declarations at enormous expense. Eler sees it as a “vicious circle”, in which clubs build teams of loan players and aging stars for this year, and are therefore saddled with their wages when they are no longer useful.
“The presidents think they have to give gifts to the fans,” said Hamit Altintop, a former Bayern Munich and Real Madrid player who now works for the Turkish football association.
Perhaps more harmful, however, is that the approach discourages long-term planning. “When there is a failure as a football team, as a first step, the clubs give up on their manager,” said Terim. “This is the easiest way to show them as the cause of failure.”
The black box
Emre Utkucan’s trip, he admits, was unusual. Eight years ago he worked as a television commentator; its role concerned, for the most part, games from the rest of the world, in particular Italy and Spain.
One night – as explained in Utkucan – Terim was watching a game and listening to his comment. Terim admired the way Utkucan saw the game, the way he analyzed the players, his depth of knowledge. Then he invited him to the club’s training facility.
Not long after, Terim asked Utkucan – a lifelong club member – to join his staff, instructing him to review the way Galatasaray operated in the transfer market. “It was a great move,” said Utkucan. “Invite a television commentator, someone in a wheelchair, to take up recruitment and analysis.” Terim got away with it because it’s Terim.
Since joining Utkucan he has worked with seven managers and four presidents. He remained, however, building his team of international scouts, expanding his personal network, hiring his team of analysts – his “nerds” as he calls them.