The success of Premier League players in the Turkish Super Lig

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A banner that read “Welcome to Hell” framed one of the first interactions between the newly formed Premier League and the Turkish Super Lig.

However, in the nearly three decades since Manchester United was eliminated from the European Cup by Galatasaray, there has been a constant flow of personnel filtering from division to division without the need to consult Hades.

With Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil set to join those ranks, here’s a rundown of the fortunes that have fallen on some of the notable Premier League exits.

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Samir Nasri didn’t last long after being introduced to the Antalyaspor fans | AFP / Getty Images Contributor

Just five months after a two-year contract with Antalyaspor, the former Manchester City midfielder parted ways with the Turkish team in January 2018.

Nasri scored twice in his eight appearances, but was subsequently banned from the sport for 18 months for a doping offense.

Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig
Daniel Sturridge scored seven goals in 16 games for Trabzonspor | VI-Images / Getty Images

Sturridge served at least six months on a three-year contract before mutually terminating their contract with Trabzonspor in March 2020.

The former Liverpool striker received his own penalty for gambling.

13, bad luck for some. But not Aaron Lennon.

13 career matches at Kayserispor, Lennon eventually won his first game for the club. It’s still early days for the former Tottenham and Burnley winger, but as of now Lennon has as many red cards as he has assists.

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Raúl Meireles won three domestic trophies with Fenerbahce | VI-Images / Getty Images

As one of the most expensive Premier League arrivals to Turkey, Meireles’ involvement dwindled as his spell in Istanbul progressed.

The former Liverpool and Chelsea midfielder later admitted that he lost his “passion and enthusiasm” for the sport in his last two seasons.

Robin van Persie scored 16 goals in his first season with Fenerbahce | AFP / Getty Images Contributor

Van Persie may have managed to create a fuss within weeks of signing for Fenerbahce in 2015, but the Dutch forward enjoyed a goal-laden debut campaign.

Unfortunately, it was a case of diminishing returns from then on and Van Persie canceled his contract midway through his third season to return to Feyenoord.

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Nani enjoyed her ‘beautiful day’ at Fenerbahce so much that she hinted at a return to the club that did not materialize | VI-Images / Getty Images

It may have been brief, but Nani’s lone campaign left an impression on the player and the club’s fan base as he racked up double digits in goals and assists in 2015/16.

Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig
Martin Skrtel is somehow a scarier proposition with a head of short hair | VI-Images / Getty Images

Martin Skrtel, one of several former Premier League stars sprinkled throughout the state-backed, title-winning Basaksehir, continued to display his badass approach to defense but, to make it even more disconcerting, he did so with a full head. of hair.

Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig
Alexander Sorloth finished as top scorer in the Turkish top flight and the Turkish Cup in 2019/20 | VI-Images / Getty Images

At the end of a sensational singles campaign for Crystal Palace loan officer Alexander Sorloth in 2019/20, the Norwegian leader finished as the Super Lig’s top scorer and scored 33 goals in all competitions.

That season Palace only scored 30.

Emmanuel Eboue endured a streak of mixed fortunes with Galatasaray between 2011 and 2014
Emmanuel Eboue suffered a streak of mixed fortunes with Galatasaray between 2011 and 2014 | Paul Gilham / Getty Images

From a simple glance at their cutlery swag, five national trophy accounts to a hugely successful stint in Istanbul for Eboue.

However, the former Arsenal full-back’s spell in Turkey was tainted by racial abuse from opposition fans and a dispute with his agent that led to a year-long ban from the sport. Although, Galatasaray charitably offered him a role at the club when they learned of his dangerous financial situation.

Didier Drogba
Didier Drogba won a league title, national cup and scored 20 goals in 18 months at Galatasaray | Clive Rose / Getty Images

It took Drogba only 18 months to consolidate his place among the Galatasaray greats of recent years.

The former Chelsea striker proved prolific and selfless as he helped lead Gala to a record 20th league title in 2013 with an excess of goals in major matches.

Scoring in the Intercontinental Derby between Galatasaray and Fenerbahce Istanbul goes some way to cementing a player’s place in their club’s folklore.

However, not being the only goal in a Turkish Cup final between the two halves of Eternal Rivalry is worthy of being an instant hero, as Podolski discovered in 2016.

Unlike his Premier League career, which shone long before fading, Cisse actually got better in an inaugural season in Turkey.

After scoring 16 goals for an Alanyaspor in the middle of the table (43% of the league total), Cisse finished as the second top scorer last season, leading his team to the Europa League playoffs and the final of the Turkey Cup. Both novelties for the club.

The former Arsenal and Manchester City defender was quick to highlight his skills when he joined the newly established Basaksehir in 2017, as described by the BBC: “When I came to visit, I told the president that I am not Lionel Messi but what I can contribute is what I have learned.”

Clichy’s three seasons at the club replicated a countdown to success, as Basaksehir finished third, second and finally first in 2020, with the Frenchman a fixture of the team.

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Dirk Kuyt helped Fenerbahce reach a major European semi-final for the first time in his debut season at the club in 2013 | VI-Images / Getty Images

Wherever Kuyt has gone, the hardworking and talented Dutchman has not only stood out, but quickly earned the adoration of the fan base.

His three years at Fenerbahce, where he won the Turkish Cup and the top flight, were no different.

Turkish Spor Toto Super Lig
Demba Ba may have lost some speed, but his scoring instincts are still there for all to see | ANP Sport / Getty Images

After a streak but memorable three-and-a-half-year stint in the Premier League, Demba Ba has jumped between two marginally less revered divisions; the top turkish and chinese flights.

In each country, Ba has continued to score goals and won the Turkish top flight twice, first with Besiktas in 2017 and then again with Basaksehir in 2020.

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