Much has been made of Everton’s lack of a dependable striker following the departure of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Oumar Niasse and Sandro Ramirez have shown brief glimpses of potential, but none have shown that they can be relied on to deliver the goods. Up to the plate steps Cenk Tosun -- the Turkish striker bought from Besiktas for a fee of around 27 million pounds.
With 2 games already under his belt, the jury is out on whether he is the man to solve Sam Allardyce’s problems in the striking department -- and whether he could be a shrewd acquisition for our Fantasy League teams. Let’s delve a little deeper to find out.
Who Is Cenk Tosun?
Cenk Tosun began his professional career at Eintracht Frankfurt and Gazientespor before moving to Besiktas in February 2014. The 6ft tall striker established himself in the 2016/17 season where he scored 24 goals to help Besiktas to the Turkish League title.
Tosun is a clinical striker, with aerial prowess and an ability to strike the ball well with both feet. This season, Tosun showed his class in the Champions League, scoring 4 goals in the group stages as Besiktas stormed through to finish on top their group. His all-action displays brought rave reviews and were a precursor for the Everton move.
Tosun is not short on confidence either. Upon arriving at Everton, he promised to fill the void left by Lukaku’s departure. Revealing that his role model is Gabriel Batistuta, he believes his style and aerial ability will suit the rigors of the English Premier League.
What Can We Expect from Tosun?
Tosun has started the last two EPL games for Everton, featuring in a 4-0 loss away at Tottenham and a 1-1 draw at home to West Brom. He is yet to get off the mark, although he has shown glimpses of his abilities as a target man and a set piece threat.
Manager Sam Allardyce has already expressed concerns, hoping that Tosun would “hit the ground running“ but conceding that he may need some time to “settle in”.
As a general rule, January transfer window signings can be a hit (think of Manolo Gabbiadini at Southampton last season) or a miss (think of Robert Snodgrass at West Ham last season).
It is especially tough for strikers, who are expected (and often desperately needed) to deliver goals immediately with no time to adapt, no benefit of a preseason.
Where Does Tosun Fit in Your Fantasy Plans?
Currently, Tosun as a Fantasy League prospect brings some major question marks (if not giant red flags). Firstly, his game time is under threat; he was withdrawn early in his first two games as Allardyce attempts to ease him in gradually. Second, there is also competition for places with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse (who scored a minute after replacing him vs West Brom) vying for game time up front.
Furthermore, Tosun has smacked early Fantrax punters in the face with a pair of -3 earnings in his first two weeks, not a first (and second) impression likely to attract followers. The best that can be said is that his initial missteps have cratered his salary. However, for those fantasy managers with settled teams doing well in their respective leagues, even a cheap-as-chips Tosun may represent too much of a gamble to consider at the moment, especially when the likes of Theo Walcott are turning in positive results at about the same price.
For Fantasy League managers with ground to make up in their mini league, a punt on Tosun at the right time could represent a key differential acquisition. The “template” fantasy league teams generally feature two strikers from the top teams (Kane, Aguero, Lukaku, Firmino), with the third striker being a bit of a lottery or budget enabler.
From game-week 27, Everton embark on a run of enticing fixtures that could be a great time to take a punt on Tosun finding his shooting boots and going on a strong run of fantasy returns. Keep a close eye on this space.
So what do you make of Cenk Tosun? Will he learn to link up with his new teammates, or was his Besiktas form a product of being on a better team? Are you one of those who bought early? If so, have you already dropped him? Let us know in the comments!