Who Is Cenk Tosun? Everton’s New Turkish Hitman

Who Is Cenk Tosun? Everton’s New Turkish Hitman
Jan 6, 2018

Everton Featured

Having failed to replace Romelu Lukaku effectively after the Belgium’s £75 million departure to Manchester United, Everton have struggled severely up-top this season and you don’t have to be an expert to notice.

After 22 league games, the Toffees have only amassed 25 goals but at this stage last season, the Merseyside outfit had netted 33 times. However, it seems that Sam Allardyce has identified his man to finally put fear in opposition defenders. That man is 26-year-old, Turkish international, Cenk Tosun.

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The two clubs, Everton and Besiktas, seem to have settled on a fee of around £27 million for the 25 time capped, German-born striker. This is to be Big Sam’s first signing since his appointment at Goodison so what can we expect of Tosun and how does he outperform fellow strikers Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse?

Tosun Is A Risk Taker

A lack of goals is one of Allardyce’s biggest worries and the current crop of strikers at Everton have contributed to this. In the league this season, 20-year-old Calvert-Lewin, who has a big future ahead of him, currently only takes 1.7 shots per game.

The more experienced figure of Oumar Niasse only manages 1.8 shots per game. Tosun on the other hand in the Turkish Süper Lig has taken 3.2 and 2.8 shots per game in the 2017/18 and 2016/17 season respectively. Tosun is a risk taker. Of course, the Premier League won’t allow Tosun as many shots however in the Champions League, where defenders are of a higher quality, he has still managed an impressive 2.5 shots per game in this season’s competition.

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When we take into account how Allardyce revitalised Jermain Defoe and got the best out of him during Sunderland’s miraculous relegation survival in the 2015/16 season, the Englishman was taking 2.6 shots per game, suggesting Big Sam will want his strikers to take a chance in front of goal.

Looking at Christian Benteke, who Allardyce managed last season at Crystal Palace, the Belgian amalgamated a superb 2.9 shots per game across the whole season (some of this is down to Alan Pardew too). On the whole, ‘Big Sam’ likes a striker who takes a “pop” at goal; Tosun is certainly that man so expect goalkeepers to be on their toes when they face him.

Finishing Ability

Speaking before a clash with Tottenham, ex-Everton manager Ronald Koeman stated, “We have to understand Ramirez is 21 and Dominic is 20. Come on, it’s the Premier League, not junior football and they need time to adapt and they need time to improve.” In Tosun, they now have an already finished article. Players can take all the shots they want, but finishing them is what will win Everton games.

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Having already scored 8 goals in 16 league matches this season, the 26-year-old brings a clinical edge to the club’s forward line. 20 league goals last season put Cenk firmly on the map but it was his impressive Champions League performances this year which saw many turn their gaze towards him.

Finishing up with 4 goals in 6 matches, averaging a rating of 7.41 on whoscored.com, Tosun has European pedigree which will prove worthwhile in the long term, with club Chairman Farhad Moshiri an ambitious figure.

Tosun Isn’t Your Typical ‘Big Sam’ Striker

At just 6ft in height, Tosun may not be your typical Sam Allardyce striker but the ex-England manager has utilised Defoe, 5ft 7 and Kevin Davies who is also 6 foot. Apart from Defoe, who was an anomaly, a striker who can “put himself about” and challenge in the area is a must. Currently, Niasse and Calvert-Lewin are around the same statistically in terms of aerial duels won.

Niasse only managed to win 1.4 aerial duels per game this Premier League season, but Calvert-Lewin exceeds him with 1.8 in the league and an astonishing 5.3 in the Europa League. Tosun manages a similar tally: 1.6 aerial duels won on average in the Turkish league and 2 in the Champions League per match. So don’t expect Tosun to be a towering figure as seen under Sam with Andy Carroll or Benteke. Instead, Tosun will competently hold the line well aerially but don’t expect the ex-England Manager to go route-one as the primary tactic with the Turk in the side.

More Than Just A Goalscorer

While not having heading as his strongest asset, Tosun has had to make up for it with his feet. And with his feet he has. His passing ability and link-up play is one of his biggest strengths which will allow him to bring in others if he is leading the line as a lone striker.

Over the past two-and-a-half seasons, Tosun’s pass success rate hasn’t been below 70%. In the 2016/17 Uefa Europa League campaign, across six matches, the former Beşiktaş striker managed a phenomenal 83.5% pass rate.In the league, he managed to provide 5 assists last season in 34 games which is acceptable. Comparing this to Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse, it is clear Tosun is the man to lead the line.

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Under 20’s World Cup winner Calvert-Lewin has managed a measly 59.4% pass rate in this season’s top flight, with Niasse not much better at just 66.4%. The last time Niasse made over 70% of his passes was two years ago in the Russian Premier League with Lokomotiv Moscow.

Defoe during the 2015/16 campaign had a pass success rate of 75.8%. Dame N’Doye, who was brought in on-loan, even managed to complete 68.8% of his passes which is better than the current strikers at Everton. Big Sam has tried to distance himself from the “hoof” style of football he is renowned for, trying to implement fast pace style of football.

With this comes the responsibility for strikers to bring in others and lead the line intelligently. Defoe showed how Allardyce needs someone to bring others into the game, and with wingers such as Bolasie and attacking midfielders like Gylfi Sigurðsson, Everton’s forwards need to be able to link up play.

For a player with his capability and experience in today’s market, £27 million for Cenk Tosun seems to be a steal. Moving to a new city and league mid-season is always tough so if the ex-German Under-21 international doesn’t set the world alight it shouldn’t be cause for concern. Learning a new league and ultimately facing tougher players will take time to get used too. So the beginning of 2018 might be a tough ride but come the new 2018/19 season, that is when we might see what Tosun is truly capable of.


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