Istanbul (AFP) – Turkish league leaders Istanbul Basaksehir are in talks with Barcelona to bring midfielder Arda Turan back to Turkey after a troubled Camp Nou spell, the Super Lig club said on Wednesday.
Basaksehir, who have risen fast over the last two seasons to rival the established Istanbul triumvirate of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, however warned that the transfer was still a work in progress.
“The process is continuing. I don’t think there is any problem with him but this part of the talks with Barcelona is not easy,” Basaksehir’s manager Abdullah Avci was quoted as saying in Turkish media.
“The situation will be made clear on Thursday or Friday.”
The club’s chairman Goksel Gumusdag said in a statement that he held talks in Barcelona with parties including Turan and Barcelona chief executive Oscar Gomar.
He said that he returned from the talks “feeling positive” due to the player’s enthusiasm and the backing of its sponsor.
“We have agreed in principle on many issues but there are still some steps that need to be taken,” he said.
Press reports have said that a six-month loan deal — which could be converted into a permanent arrangement — was being discussed.
Turan, 30, joined Barcelona in 2015 after four successful seasons with Atletico Madrid but he has failed to hold down a first team place.
The player is a household name in his home country, where his personal life is followed as closely as his exploits on the field.
After his move to Barca, the authorities in the gritty Istanbul district of Bayrampasa announced that they had named the road where he grew up “Arda Turan Street” in his honour.
Turan has also made no secret of his support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, attending rallies to back “my commander-in-chief” in the wake of the failed coup bid in 2016.
He quit international football earlier this year after being thrown out of a training camp by former coach Fatih Terim following a fracas with a reporter on a plane.
But the subsequent departure of Terim, which also came in the wake of a fistfight, opened the way for Turan’s recall in August.
Many expected Turan to rejoin Galatasaray, the club where he rose to stardom a decade ago, but Terim’s appointment as manager appears to have made this impossible.
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