Jack Stroudley takes a closer look at Fulham’s second rumour of the January transfer window.
The January transfer window is now open and our second rumoured signing is here. Turkish midfielder Okay Yokuslu is allegedly on Marco Silva’s radar, with the interest being in a loan with an option to buy. After assessing our first rumour of the window Angelo Fulgini last month, I thought I’d head to the internet to find out all the ins and outs of the current Celta Vigo midfielder.
Okay’s fact fileEmbed from Getty Images
Yokuslu is a 27-year-old defensive midfielder who has been on Celta Vigo’s books since 2018. The Turkish international started his senior career at Altay Spor Kulübü in the TFF First League (Turkey’s second division of football). Yokuslu spent two seasons at Altay before leaving in 2011 for Turkish first division side Kayserispor.
The midfielder then spent four years with the Turkish outfit, which included a relegation in the 2013-14 season and then a promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking in 2014-15, where he impressed. His impressive spell at the club landed him a move to the Turkish outfit Trabzonspor.
Yokuslu continued to develop his game playing for a more respected side in Turkey where he found himself at the club playing between 2015 and 2018, which included playing alongside Fulham cult hero Hugo Rodallega. Yokuslu’s stats at Trabzonspor were impressive for a defensive midfielder, averaging 2.5 tackles per game across his entire tenure at the Turkish side.
Yokuslu then managed to get a move to his current club Celta Vigo in 2018 where he featured regularly in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons as well as the first half of 2020-21 before being shipped out on loan to West Brom.
The midfielder is now getting limited minutes at Celta Vigo, who are looking to offload.
The real breakdownEmbed from Getty Images
It’s evident Yokuslu has been around the block, playing in Turkey, Spain and England. But is he good enough to play for Fulham? Compared to other defensive midfielders in the top five leagues over the past year (all stats taken per 90 minutes) I’d argue yes.
Firstly, looking at the extremely positive stats, he has averaged 3.36 tackles per game putting him in the top 6% of defensive midfielders. Yokuslu is also in the top 6% for clearances, 7% for aerials won, complimented by his 6’3 frame and astonishingly in the top 2% of interceptions.
His stats are slightly lower in other areas of his game, with Yokuslu being in the top 32% for dribbles completed and the top 39% for pass completion but overall, they are encouraging signs.
While these stats are all positive, they may need to be taken with a slight pinch of salt. Yokuslu performed exceptionally well for West Brom last year, which has resulted in the stats looking the way they are. However, the midfielder has only managed to get 122 minutes of action this season for Celta Vigo meaning his stats haven’t had the ability to change much since that purple patch over the second half of last season and the data given may not be a true reflection of the player Fulham may sign.
Yes to Yokuslu?Embed from Getty Images
So, after taking a closer look at Yokuslu as a player, is it someone Fulham really need? I’d argue he is. I personally love Jean Michael Seri and Harrison Reed, but at times this season we have seen the midfield struggle when games get slightly more physical and having an option like Yokuslu could be perfect for Fulham.
Looking at his stats we can see he has done it before in the Premier League for West Brom so if we were to go up why couldn’t he do it for Fulham? According to rumours, we’re looking at a loan with an option to buy in the summer so it would be the perfect signing in my opinion. Yokuslu is also wanted by French club Bordeaux and Turkish club Galatasaray but has ruled out a move back to Turkey. Time will tell whether this one will come off.