Turkish football closes gap on the big five European leagues

Posted on 14 November 2008

With its big-name signings and loads of money spent, Turkish league is closing in on Europe’s big five leagues of England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France.

Turkcell Super League’s bid to become one of the world’s top football leagues has been strengthened as it has been declared the sixth most valuable of Europe. In a list compiled by German sports economy Web site, Sport+Markt, according to the total value of players in each league, Turkcell Super League is placed sixth with 727 million euros. Understandably, “the big three” of Turkish football played the major role in that achievement, as nearly half of that value is earned by players for Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş.

With its 31 players valued at 116 million euros, Galatasaray is the most valuable Turkish team, followed by Fenerbahçe, which has 27 players worth of 106 million. Beşiktaş’s squad, which consists of 23 players, is worth 76 million euros.

The English Premier League continues its domination in the continent, with players worth almost 3 billion euros. Spain’s La Liga and the Italian Serie A trail far behind the Premier League, but stand on second and third spot with comfortable margins in front of the German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1. Turkcell Super League enjoys a two-headed advantage while maintaining its value as its top teams can purchase international superstars and breed newer generations of Turkish players with remarkable market values.

For example, Galatasaray signed international stars Harry Kewell, Milan Baros and Fernando Meira, last summer, while Fenerbahçe gave Mallorca a Turkish record 14 million euros to sign Daniel Güiza, who was the La Liga top scorer last year.

Meanwhile, those clubs have also some players that are closely scouted by European clubs. Galatasaray’s winger Arda Turan, defensive midfielder Mehmet Topal and Fenerbahçe striker Semih Şentürk have remarkable market values, especially after their big performances at last summer’s European Football Championship.

However, while the big boys possess some pricey players, there is an obvious hole between the league’s minnows. For example, after Turkcell Super League’s current leader, Trabzonspor, which is fourth in this list, is worth 52 million euros, 16 million before closest trailer, Ankaraspor. Kayserispor, Sivasspor, Istanbul Municipality and Konyaspor are the other teams to have around a 30-million-euro haul, and seven others, Ankaragücü, Bursaspor, Eskişehirspor, Gençlerbirliği, Kocaelispor, Gaziatepspor and Hacettepe, are standing within the borders of the 20-25 million-euro class.

The team with the least value is Antalyaspor, which is worth 18 million euros, which equals about one-sixth of Galatasaray.

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