Halil Dervisoglu: Brentford’s Next Breakthrough Forward?

Over the years, Brentford’s Moneyball approach to player recruitment has seen them sign a whole host of promising offensive players. Recently, the Bees have bought and sold Andre Gray, Neal Maupay, Ollie Watkins, and Said Benrahma for sizeable profits. Because of their approach to the transfer market, both Thomas Frank – the team’s current manager – and the club’s hierarchy are continually looking for the next gem in their statically-driven recruitment strategy.

Interestingly, the Bees may already have another future star on their hands. Signed from Sparta Rotterdam, the Brentford Community Stadium welcomed the Turkish youth international, Halil Dervisoglu, for around £2.7 million in January 2020. Currently, the 21-year-old is on loan at Twente, but the attacker undoubtedly has the potential to be a future star at the London-based club. So, can he follow in the footsteps of former offensive success stories?

The Potential to Put the Middle East on the Map in English Football

Aside from his footballing talent, Dervisoglu could be the catalyst in opening the Football League’s door to further Middle Eastern players. At the time of writing, the former Sparta Rotterdam forward is one of only two Turkish players in the Championship, the other of which is Derby County’s Colin Kazim-Richards. Since the mid-19th century, the transcontinental country has been regarded as being encompassed by the Middle East, along with the likes of Egypt and Israel, according to Britannica.

Currently, the Middle East’s football market is growing, and the emergence of numerous sports betting sites in Arab countries reflects that. Although Turkey itself is not an Arab country, Dervisoglu’s arrival at Brentford may significantly enhance the long-term popularity of the region’s betting industry. Across some of the best football betting sites, those in the Middle East can bet on various sporting leagues, including the English Premier League, La Liga, UAE Pro League, and many more. Should Brentford secure promotion to the top-flight of English football over the coming years, then there will be scope for local supporters to closely follow the progress of Dervisoglu.

The Next in a Long Line of Star Strikers?

Shortly after arriving at the Brentford Community Stadium, the 21-year-old attacker quickly impressed the Brentford boss. According to a report by FourFourTwo, which quotes Frank, he described the Turkish youth international as a “great talent”, who’s capable of doing everything required of a striker. Not only that, but the manager also indicated that the club believes that he can replicate the success of former Brentford strikers, stating that the staff will help him to reach the very top level.

Concerning his short-term impact at Brentford, the youngster will have to wait until the 2021-22 season before getting his next opportunity. Ahead of Aston Villa’s £35-million move for Watkins, who are now managed by Dean Smith, the London-based outfit demonstrated their forward-thinking approach, signing Ivan Toney from Peterborough. Following the Englishman’s arrival, Brentford opted to loan Dervisoglu to Twente, with Frank citing a need for playing time as the primary reason.

Although away from the Brentford Community Stadium, the Bees remain optimistic about the 21-year-old’s long-term future lies in English football. Interestingly, since moving to the Eredivisie, Dervisoglu has played in numerous positions at Twente. Aside from being a central striker, Transfermarkt state that he’s also been deployed as both a left and right winger. While Frank sees his long-term role in the ten position, this offensive versatility will undoubtedly appeal to the Bees’ coaching staff.
If Dervisoglu is to succeed at Brentford like Gray, Maupay, and Watkins, then he will need to add more goals to his game. During his time at Sparta Rotterdam, the Turkish youth international scored 16 goals and provided 12 assists in 58 appearances. However, in his first nine league matches for Twente, the 21-year-old failed to chip in with a goalscoring contribution, albeit he started just two of those games.

Patience is Required and Can be Afforded

Although Dervisoglu may view Toney as an obstacle to a regular starting spot at Brentford, the 24-year-old’s instant success relieves the weight of expectation on the on-loan attacker. The Bees faithful perceive the Englishman to be the natural Watkins replacement, meaning that, when the time comes, Dervisoglu is free to create his own legacy. Should he succeed in doing so, he could be at the heart of growing Middle Eastern football and ensuring that Brentford enjoys sustained success over the coming decade.

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