It wasn’t supposed to be like this for Trabzonspor. With the team suffering its worst start in the Turkish top-flight in 40 years – four wins and a loss – people have begun to speculate about the future of manager Vahid Halilhodzic. Trabzonspor have only had two wins in competitive matches this season. One came in the Europa League playoff round against Russian club FC Rostov, and the other was in the Europa League group stages against Metalist Kharkiv. It took a last-gasp goal from defender Avraam Papadopoulos in order to achieve that feat.
In a country where patience in football has never been a virtue, Trabzonspor finds themselves already in a torrid position. After signing an insane 20 players in summer transfer window, success was never going to come overnight. The coach said it would take time for the team chemistry to develop, however, their poor start has people hitting the panic button. The loss of exceptional goalkeeper Onur Kivrak to a long-term knee injury for four to six months was a massive blow to the side.
It is essentially a team created from scratch. Players like Adrian Mierjewski, Olcan Adin, and Paulo Henrique were sold, whilst Gustavo Colman, Ondrej Celustka, and Florent Malouda were released from contracts. It led Trabzonspor to conduct a complete summer overhaul. Players signed include Oscar Cardozo, Kevin Constant, Waris Majeed, and Mehmet Ekici to name just a few.
As always, team chemistry plays a key role in success. Halilhodzic was instated as boss shortly after the World Cup finished and basically said he oversaw a team who he didn’t think could produce the goods. He suggested to the board that a clear-out was necessary, and with all the moves that occurred it could be worse. However, it’s not an idea situation and the loss against Karabukspor at the weekend was a crushing blow.
Sitting in 16th position with just four points, few people would have expected such a disappointing start.
Rumors have begun to circle that other managers are being monitored as potential replacements for Halilhodzic. One coach in particular, Ersun Yanal, who led Fenerbache to the league title last season, is a frontrunner for the job if results don’t improve.
For a club desperate to win the league title that has evaded them for the past three decades, Trabzonspor must decide whether to stick or twist with their manager sooner, rather than later.
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