Galatasaray were one of the under-dogs to do well in the past season’s UEFA Champions League, and though they were noticed mainly for the goals of Burak Yilmaz, the rest of the side played its part well in a satisfactory season. One of the key members of this squad was the tough center back, Semih Kaya. The young Turkish player put in some solid performances that caught the eye of many a scout, including some from Manchester United.
Semih Kaya was born in Izmir, on 24th February, 1991. He was part of Altay’s youth team until Galatasaray paid 8k compensation and brought him to Istanbul. He featured for Galatasaray’s youth ranks and was called up by various age groups of the national team. Semih has unfortunately had a couple of major injuries in his short career. While playing for youth team, against Beşiktaş and he had a clot in his brain, result of a Beşiktaş striker kicking him in the head! He had to undergo a surgery and couldn’t play for the rest of the season. He returned to football only to then suffer knee ligament damage. After a prolonged spell of rehabilitation, he started to train normally, and eventually started against Greece after a long break, but unfortunately he suffered the same injury again.
Everyone expected him to play for the first team when he was around 17 but his injuries have stalled his progress. In the 2008 – 09 season, Semih played his first game for Galatasray when he was 18, against Istanbul B. B. But, until the beginning of the 2011-12 season, he hadn’t been able to nail down a starting position in the team. He had few loan spells in lower leagues in Turkey. He was loaned to Turkish Super League team Gaziantepspor with an option to buy, he just played once and returned to Galatasaray. The next season Galatasaray loaned him to Kartalspor, he featured regularly and returned to Galatasaray at the end of the season.
Fatih Terim has been the most important person in his career. The club announced him as the new manager of Galatasaray two seasons ago, to signify the start of his third era at Galatasaray. Terim’s compassionate attitude, helped him to adapt to the first team faster. Semih wasn’t expected to be in the team and he was probably wondering about where he would head out on loan next season, but Terim gave him a chance and he proved himself. Since the beginning of the 2011–12 season, he has been one of the most important bricks of Terim’s structure. He made 30 appearances in the 2011–12 season in the Turkish super league, totally, he played 36 games. The last season, he has been a crucial player both for Galatasaray and the national team. He made 25 appearances in the Turkish Super League, 10 in the Champions League and 5 in WC qualification. He is a huge John Terry fan, that’s why he prefers number 26.
Semih played all age groups of national team. He has 45 appearances across different age groups and 8 national team appearances. Specially after the WC qualification, Semih strengthened his place in the national team and he’ll be the most important defender for Turkey in the next decade. He can even become a captain for the national team, he certainly has the potential to lead the national team.
Bülent Korkmaz is the best defender produced by Galatasaray’s youth academy and he’s a legendary captain of Galatasaray. Semih looks to be following his footsteps. He has similar strengths to Bülent Korkmaz.
STYLE,STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
If you want to be a top defender, you need to be a complete player. Intelligence, concentration, strength, number of duels won, and adept in possession. Semih is a combination of different styles, he is a bit of a solid defender, a bit of a technique player and compared to any defender he has decent technique, first touch and ball control. He is sufficient in the air, but he doesn’t have enough ability to deal with target-man strikers. For example, last season against Beşiktaş, he had some trouble against the physically imposing Hugo Almeida. He is good with the ball at his feet. He doesn’t seem hurried when on the ball and is able to start attacks from the back, he has a good eye for a pass and follows the movement of midfielders and strikers on the pitch. He doesn’t step up and put pressure so often, but when he does, he does it efficiently and wins the ball more often than not, which means that he is a good reader of the game. He is a deep lying central defender,but because of the tactical system of Terim, he has to stay close to line. His attacking contribution is limited. As mentioned above, he is a huge fan of Chelsea captain John Terry, and they certainly have some similarities in terms of playing style. Both of them are balanced and more rigid defenders compare to their partners, at Chelsea, Terry has Luiz as a partner who is an attacking minded defender which means Terry has to stay deep and be aware of every movement in the game to cover Luiz’s absence and at Galatasaray, last season Semih played alongside Danny, a player similar to David Luiz in some aspects. Thus, Semih stayed deep and tried to cover his absence.
Semih’s main strength is his mentality. He is always in the game. Fully concentrated, he is ambitious player, doesn’t give up easily and works hard. He is a hard worker and is well aware that to reach the top level of football he needs to continue to work as hard, if not even harder.
In the physical department, Semih Kaya is decent. Not slow, commands sufficient power, his acceleration is decent, balanced player and excellent stamina. His physical attributes are good enough to play at top level but, without a doubt, he has to improve physically to become a better defender. His physical attribitues were put to the test against Beşiktaş. A test which, in my opinion, he struggled in. He couldn’t win enough aerial duels, he had a problem with tackles and interceptions, and in general looked incompetent against Hugo Almeida. But, since then, he has already improved and become better in terms of physique and will be able to handle “big” players more easily.
Another main weakness, is his injury problems. His track record of injuries aren’t heart warming. He has had several major injuries in his short career, I hope it won’t repeat in the future and he is going to be able to showcase his considerable skills.
Overall, Semih doesn’t have a main weakness but at the same time he doesn’t have one marked characteristic. He is a combination of different styles and it makes him irreplaceable for Galatasaray. He gives Terim different options, next season his partner will mostly be Aurelien Chedjou, who is a more experienced and solid player compared to Semih, who’ll have a chance to learn from Chedjou.
“It is true to say that Sir Alex Ferguson had talked with our president about Semih. He asked for the price of a possible transfer, but that question is yet to be answered.”
-Ali Durust (Galatasaray Vice President) via metro.co.uk
“Semih along with Fatih Terim will be at Galatasaray for the foreseeable future, he is a very valuable player to us.”
-Ali Durust (Galatasaray Vice President) via turkish-football.com
Semih Kaya is the part of F-F sport agency alongside with his team mate Dany Nounkeu. Semih is the one of the best young defenders in Europe at the moment. Defenders have to be more mature, experienced than other players. He is still learning and he’ll be a target of the big clubs from Europe in a couple of seasons. He plays regularly at Galatasaray, he has Champions League experience and his experience will grow in coming seasons. According to reports, Inter have inquired about his price to Galatasaray board members had a quick conversation about him with Manchester United after the champions league game at Old Trafford.
He has signed a new deal with Galatasaray and Gala won’t let him go in the near future. He hasn’t had enough success at Galatasaray yet, his value hasn’t risen to the peak yet. I can definitely see him playing in England or Italy in 3 years.
View Semih Kaya’s Soccer Wiki Profile
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