As Darius Vassell mulls over a move to Turkey, we look at those who have blazed the trail for him.
1. Colin Kazim Richards
CKR – the Coca Cola Kid – not only made himself at home in Turkey, he bagged a Champions League goal for Fenerbahce against Chelsea and broke into the Turkish national team. He is currently being linked with a move back to the Premier League with Hull City.
2. Harry Kewell
When Hazza joined Galatasaray on a free transfer from Liverpool last season, we could not see it lasting. But the Australian has settled well and welcomed the recent appointment of Frank Rijkaard as his new manager.
3. Les Ferdinand
Sir Les was loaned to Besiktas by QPR as a favour to English boss Gordon Milne for the 1988-1989 season. The young striker didn’t disappoint and bagged 14 goals in 24 games. But he was soon back in England to become a goalscoring hero here.
4. Gordon Milne
The aforementioned Milne took over the Besiktas hotseat in 1987 and stayed in charge until 1994. He won three successive league titles during his time at the club and is considered one of Turkish football’s greats. Milne also had a brief spell in charge of Fenerbahce.
5. Dalian Atkinson
Atkinson went to Turkey in 1995 at the same time as Aston Villa strike partner Dean Saunders. While Saunders joined Galatasaray, Atkinson signed for rivals Fenerbahce. He scored 10 times in 21 games – and is the only foreign player to score a hat-trick in the Fenerbahce-Galatasaray grudge match – but failed to settle in Turkey.
6. Dean Saunders
Saunders allegedly took his wife, Helen, for a weekend away in Turkey in 1995 only to announce on the Monday that he was moving to Galatasaray and Turkey would be their new home! Saunders had once again decided to hook-up with long-time accomplice Graeme Souness. He scored the winner in the Turkish Cup Final and his son was born during his stint in Turkey.
7. Ian Wilson
The ex-Leicester and Everton man joined Besiktas in 1989, did the league and cup double, and promptly returned to Blighty with Derby County.
8. Graeme Souness
Souness’ spell in charge of Galatasaray is most fondly remembered (by Galatasaray fans that is) for when he planted a huge flag in the centre-circle of Fenerbahce’s pitch after defeating them to win the Turkish Cup (see video above).
9. Kevin Campbell
Endured a miserable stint at Trabzonspor in the 1998-99 season after a move from Nottingham Forest. Already finding live tough, Campbell’s settling in process was not aided by club president Mehmet Ali Yılmaz who was quoted as calling the striker “a discoloured cannibal” and said: “We bought him as a goal machine, but he turned out to be a washing machine”
10. Barry Venison
Another Graeme Souness signing. The ex-England full-back manager just eight game for Galatasaray before joining Souness at Southampton.