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Orkun Kokcu Transfer News: Arsenal, Man Utd & Liverpool alerted? Ex-target regrets transfer mistake

Daniel Cabot Kerkdijk
Orkun Kökcü, Benfica
© IMAGO

Orkun Kökcü is anything but happy with his time at Benfica.

Last summer, the former Feyenoord captain was courted by Arsenal, Man Utd and Liverpool, as revealed by FootballTransfers, but he specifically chose the club from Lisbon because there was a coach there, Roger Schmidt, who knew him from the Eredivisie.

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Benfica paid a record amount of up to €35 million, including bonuses, for the Turkish international, who is currently not happy. Kökcü says he is being misused by Schmidt, who insisted that Benfica splash a record fee.

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The ex-PSV coach often plays the creative Turkish international in a defensive role in midfield. According to journalist Marcel van der Kraan, he will even push for a transfer if the situation remains the same. “No, this is not what I expected,” Kokcu has now told De Telegraaf.

“There was a lot going on in the transfer market last summer, I made a conscious choice for Benfica with the idea that this was the best step in my career to further develop in all areas. That has only partially happened.”

Orkun Kokcu
© IMAGO – Orkun Kokcu

Kökcü not valued

Kökcü was never unveiled in a grand manner by Benfica, partly because he had to join up with the Turkish national team immediately after signing his contract. Once back, such a presentation was not forthcoming.

“I have of course seen how other players have been put in the spotlight in Portugal and at other big clubs. That creates a certain status. I never felt like I was being made to feel important from the start. Not even by the coach!”

“I’m not the type to bang my fist on the table or make demands, but perhaps I was too modest because of the role he presented to me.” Kökcü was told by Schmidt that he would have a similar role to the one he had at Feyenoord: setting the tempo and always facing forward.

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Orkun Kokcu
© IMAGO – Orkun Kokcu

He assumed that the ex-PSV coach knew what to do with his qualities. “I am the type of footballer who yields the most return for a team if you give me the freedom. (…) Schmidt links me too much to all kinds of tasks. And that is not necessary if you really want to use my qualities.”

“I can do so much more for Benfica, that may be part of my frustration.” Kökcü has played a total of 34 official matches for Benfica. He has scored 3 goals and notched 10 assists. He has only played an average of 66 minutes per match because he has only been allowed to come on a few times.

In the 5-0 defeat against FC Porto, he was hooked at halftime. “I was angry and disappointed about that. It was precisely at those moments that I knew that I could do so much for the team. I think I have proven in recent seasons what I am worth to a team if you use me in the right way.”

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