Galatasaray were the pacesetters in the winter transfer break in Turkey. After securing the services of Australian full-back Lucas Neill from Everton on a one-and-a-half-year agreement, the Lions went on to make two more loan signings bringing in Jo from Everton and Dos Santos from Tottenham. Neill has made a steady start at his new club looking assured and composed in his first three league games. Jo scored in his second appearance before his injury and Dos Santos has yet to come out of the blocks.
The signing of Neill will undoubtably bring much-needed stability and consistency to Galatasaray’s leaky defence but question marks will and have already been raised over the two loan signings. Jo took Europe by storm in 2005 after his success with Russian champions CSKA Moscow. His performances in Russia caught the eye of many top European clubs including Manchester City who went on to sign the Brazilian for £18 million in 2008. However, after failing to convince the Eastlands hierarchy, Jo was instantly shipped out on loan to Everton in January 2009 where he scored five goals in twelve league appearances. After falling out with Toffees boss David Moyes, Jo was then making his way to Istanbul.
Dos Santos made his name in La Liga at Catalan giants Barcelona where then Barca boss Frank Rijkaard brought him through the club’s youth ranks. After Rijkaard’s departure in 2008, Dos Santos was also on his way out where he would then go on to join North London club Tottenham for a reported £5 million transfer fee. The Mexican international failed to deliver at his new team and was then sent on loan to Championship outfit Ipswich Town before moving to Turkey.
The fact that Jo and Dos Santos are only on short-term deals does not hide Galatasaray’s incompetence and wrongdoings in the transfer market. The club needs a prolific goalscorer and a player that has been playing regularly – the previous two have not! Jo has already been ruled out for three weeks through injury and with Milan Baros still out for at least another two months, the Istanbul giants are in danger of being without a recognised frontman for a large chunk of the remainder of the season.
It would have been better to keep Shabani Nonda, who had been at the club since 2007 and was Galatasaray’s leading goalscorer in the league this season. Why on earth didn’t the club stick with him to at least the end of the season? Jo and Dos Santos will need time to adapt to a new league and country (there’s only four months left!). Galatasaray are still involved in three competitions and will need as many players on board as possible. With injuries again mounting (nothing new), the run-in looks extremely tough and Rijkaard will have to come up with another plan. Let’s hope that the club does not regret some of its transfer policies!