In the ruthless world of modern football, one of the most important decisions a player can make is their choice of agent. These days a footballer very rarely conveys any message to the world without the influence of their guardian angel, just in case they should happen to say something tactless or poorly timed.
But in Arda Turan’s case it would seem the roles have been reversed. The Turkish international’s agent Ahmet Bulut has categorically stated that Turan will be leaving Atletico Madrid at the end of the season, ending weeks of diplomatic interviews by the player himself, who has been keen to focus on the pitch rather than speculate about his future.
Bulut’s timing leaves a lot to be desired. The announcement came in the immediate aftermath of Atletico’s devastating 4-1 defeat against Barcelona – a result that seems to confirm there will be no title race in La Liga this year. Some salt to rub into the wound was surely not welcomed by the moneymen at the Estadio Vicente Calderon or by the fans, yet the timing of the comments must have been planned.
Bulut once said: “Why do players change agents so often? Either they don’t inspire trust, or they don’t actually do much for the player.” On this occasion it seems that Bulut is doing too much for his client.
The words used in Bulut’s statement to Turkish broadcaster TRT are telling. “I have wanted to see Turan play for another team in another league and Arda also wants to play for another club, to live another experience,” he said, quite literally putting his interests before his client’s.
Turan has been reluctant to discuss his future despite links with PSG, Anzhi and Liverpool, possibly because this is exactly the wrong time. Atletico are still having a spectacular season and publicly declaring that he is set to leave helps nobody. Bulut could quite easily have quietly made contact with interested clubs and probably has been, but he chose to broadcast Turan’s alleged discontent to the whole world, Coach and teammates included.
Aside from the timing, the decision to leave Atletico itself is a dubious one. A much needed gifted winger, Turan has become a pivotal member of Diego Simeone’s squad since becoming the most expensive transfer out of the Turkish Super League in 2011. He is growing as a player and clearly thriving in La Liga where he is valued by his Coach and teammates. Champions League football for next season seems likely, even if a title challenge is now a step too far.
The summer will most likely see Radamel Falcao depart possibly along with several other key men, as is Atletico’s lot in recent years due to their financial situation. While that could be frustrating for Turan, he could also benefit from showing his loyalty and become a truly central figure at the club should he choose to stay where he is. The sale of Falcao would allow for slightly more economical replacements and allow Turan to move up the pecking order.
The clubs Turan is being linked with aren’t any more prestigious – the appeal seems to be financial, but you have to question whether that is coming from the player directly or from his representative. Turan is only 25 and has plenty of time to sample other cultures and other leagues – that simply isn’t a good enough reason to leave a club when you are successful there.
If Arda leaves Atletico for another league in the summer then so be it, but it’d be reassuring to know that the impetus came from him.