There are plenty of starlets in European football but only few will make it to the very top. One such player is Alper Ademoğlu. The Turkish youngster’s potential is immense and giants from all around Europe are following his development with a keen eye.
Who is Alper Ademoğlu?
Alper was born in Istanbul on 10 April, 1998. He lived in Turkey initially but soon moved to Belgium with his family when he was just six years old. He began his youth team career at KRC Genk and soon his reputation grew. With positive reports from Anderlecht academy scouts, the Turkish starlet moved to the Anderlecht academy. Since his move to one of the best academies in Europe, he has shown that he has the ability to be an amazingly gifted playmaker. Such has been his improvement, European giants started to monitor him meticulously. Ademoğlu hasn’t been followed closely just because of his said talent, his performances at the UEFA Youth league have been mesmerizing especially the game against English side Liverpool where he bagged 4 assists which was one of the best performances I’ve seen from a youth player in a while.
Alper’s life hasn’t been easy going from the start. When his family moved to Belgium, they were faced with financial problems and perhaps more pertinently, Alper had to deal with some serious health problems in his family. His father and brother were both bogged down with issues of health and in contrast to their misfortune, Alper seemed like a gift to his family. There were high expectations for Alper to shine as a footballer as he has the task of taking care of his family at such a young age. Alper said a few years ago: “I have to become professional, whatever it takes to protect and help my family.” He has worked hard to provide the best for his family and with his immense potential as a footballer, Alper has every chance to take good care of his family. For him, playing football isn’t just about the money or playing for fun; Alper has to play for his family.
Although he hasn’t had a proper chance at first team action, it’s very likely that he’ll have a chance to showcase his talents in an Anderlecht jersey. He is eligible to play for both Turkey and Belgium having already appeared for both sides. Although he has played more for Belgium, he donned Turkey’s red and white jersey for the U-15 side. Currently, he turns out for Belgium more often and looks like he will chose Belgium over Turkey in the next few years. Belgium boasts of an amazing generation of players and it would be bit more of a task to get a regular spot in the team compared to Turkey. It’s not a secret that a potential career with Turkey would be easier, but my personal opinion is that he’ll play a huge role in the Belgium side in the next ten years and more. After seeing Hakan Çalhanoğlu’s problems with the Turkish national side, European based Turks perhaps would prefer to stay away from our tumultuous football world.
Style & Strengths and Weaknesses
Alper can player as a central midfielder as well as an attacking midfielder but has been known to have a free role. His technical abilities are first class with attributes that we have come to associate with the likes of Andreas Iniesta: his movement, passes and assists are all quite Iniesta-esque. His passing, ball control and first touch are excellent and his awareness and vision are well advanced for his tender age. In my opinion, it is this awareness and vision that defines his style of play which brims with confidence and freedom. He is an extremely smart player and is acutely aware of every movement around him and more often than not, finds the right teammate with every pass he makes. He has the tendency to make himself available in order to provide an extra passing option for his teammates. He is on most occasions one step ahead of the game, with his next pass thought out even before receiving the ball.
Alper must do well to maintain the confidence he has at the moment. For players like him, confidence is of utmost importance, given that he is always looking to take on opposition players and attempt risky passes. Physical and defensive aspects are secondary to him. He does have a role to play defensively but his contributions on the attacking front can’t be compared to his defensive duties. The youngster looks to have the instinct to carry him to the elite level; his decision making for his age is exemplary. I’ve had the chance and privilege to watch him in action several times and he managed to surprise onlookers by making the correct decisions in every single game. quite clinical and usually doesn’t make mistakes in the opposition’s box, helping him to improve his assists tally. As far as I have observed, he does need to improve when it comes to finishing. Alper does have a knack of missing clear chances inside the box.
His most obvious weaknesses are in the defensive and physical sides of the game. He isn’t fast or powerful and his acceleration is often an issue. With a bit more acceleration, Alper’s dribbling could have been more deadly. He does possess quite good balance but it isn’t enough to fend off physical challenges. His physicality is a facet he definitely needs to make big strides in and luckily, it is something he can work on. His defensive contribution too, tilts towards the weaker side and this too, is capable of being mended. Despite these weaknesses, Alper has the ability that could hand him a chance to play at top level clubs like Barcelona and Manchester United. As always, there will be expectations and he has to meet these expectations in order to protect his spot in the team. I usually like to comment on players’ mental attributes we well but in this case, Alper is too young to be evaluated. In a couple of years, it would be more sensible to make a judgement once he has a taste of first team football and matures as an individual.
What The Future Holds?
Alper’s contract expires in 2017 and Anderlecht won’t be able to demand a large fee for the young Turk. In my opinion, Barcelona is the most suited club to his style of play. Spending a season or two on a bench at top level club will serve as invaluable experience for his future career. He is capable of becoming one of the best in the world and could potentially be the replacement for Iniesta that Barcelona would long for. Alternatively, the pressure of being a top level club player could be too much to handle and could break or have an adverse impact on his development. Expectations will be high regardless of his age and everyone will consider him as a future star and expect him to play well regularly without being patient enough for him to properly develop. The expectations will follow him regardless of where he goes but with all that said, a player of his calibre should not settle for a mid-table club.
Written by Mert Conker