On Thursday night Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce broke the news that Loris Karius is due in Istanbul on Friday August 24th to complete his 2 year loan move to Turkish giants, Besiktas.
Karius’ future has seemingly been uncertain ever since that horribly unforgettable night in Kiev on the 26th of May earlier this year. However, the next stage of his career is now a medical and a pen to paper away from being set according to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo. Liverpool and Besiktas reportedly thrashed out a deal on Monday night, with the formula being a 2 year deal including a loan fee of £2.25million and an obligation at £7.25million for Besiktas to acquire him in 2020 if a number of performance criterias are met. Those criterias being related to appearances and Besiktas qualifying for Europe. Furthermore, Liverpool will additionally have a 20% sell on clause on any future sale Besiktas conducts involving Karius.
But what does this move mean for Karius and his career?
First and foremost, it means a clean slate. Something he, in my personal opinion, is in desperate need of to re-gain his confidence and mojo after recent events all between the Champions League final, throughout pre-season, and up until the 24th of August when the move is reportedly about to be finalized.
From my perspective, there are three criteria that need to be checked for a successful re-birth of his career. A clean slate, regular minutes, and support.
There is too much baggage at Liverpool for Karius and too much disbelief in his abilities from the fans for it to be possible to completely start over. Therefore, the first criteria of a successful re-birth of his career is a clean slate to start over on. Surely the fans of Besiktas are aware of what Karius has been through, but the belief in their fan base of a career turnover is currently far superior to that of the Liverpool fan base.
Besiktas entered the season without their starting keeper from last season, Fabricio, who earlier this summer closed a move to Fulham and currently relies on Tolga Zengin as their first choice – who has not played football with continuity since the 15/16 season. Karius’ chances of regular minutes are quite big because of this, and as the two stand in a face off to grab the starting spot, Karius has the advantage of having played regularly last season in both the Premier League and the Champions League for Liverpool. So, the chances of ticking the box of regular minutes have beneficial odds for the 25 year old German at Besiktas.
The main counter argument you hear from Liverpool fans regarding this move is the doubt about the quality of the Turkish league. While I can agree to a certain extent to this argument, and personally would’ve preferred him to re-join the Bundesliga where he’s A) familiar with the nature of the league and the culture of the country he’d live in – whereas the transition period would evidently be shorter – and B) the quality of the league is higher, I do think Besiktas is a decent fit for him.
Besiktas is one of the best clubs in Turkey and has consistently finished in the top of the Turkish Süper Lig as well as participated in the European competitions for the last ten years at minimum. The Turkish league has consistently grown over the past 5-10 years, as more and more international stars have chosen to join the league, raising the league’s standards in the process. The once total dominance established by Besiktas, Fenerbahce, and Galatasaray has now been stormed and equaled by multiple teams who are now challenging these clubs for the domestic titles.
So, conclusion? The Turkish league is not ideal, but at the same time not nearly as bad as the general perception of it is. Besides, regular minutes at Besiktas is far more valuable than riding the bench for Liverpool week in and week out, where he might even had been the 3rd choice behind Simon Mignolet.
The last and final criteria – support. Besiktas is a club with amazing support from their fans, which is very positive for the sake of Karius. However, as superb as they can be, it could at the same time turn and get really bad. If Karius can manage to turn his career around and live out to the potential that was predicted for him in Bundesliga and when he first joined Liverpool, he surely can become a fan favourite and find himself in the middle of a love fest. However, if he continue down the road he is on, the opposite will happen – and he will notice the dissatisfaction on a whole new level than what he did at Liverpool. Turkish and especially Besiktas fans are incredibly passionate and expresses themselves relentlessly both in a positive and negative manner. This isn’t the ideal club climate and environment for someone with the fragile mentality that Karius has, but it’s a gamble worth taking for the sake of his career.
Analyzing the deal from a Liverpool perspective, it’s basically a hit or miss with little in-between deal. As Besiktas compensate LFC £2.25million in loan-fees it results in Liverpool retrieving approximately half of what they invested in the young German roughly 2 years ago. If Besiktas go on and activate the obligation to buy him that’s an additional £7.25million to collect, making the profit on Karius about £5million. However, with the current spike in the market economy, and depending on Karius performances, that could still result in a loss. £5million profit on Karius might be a steal for Besiktas if he lives up to his potential, with Karius’ market value rising due to the ongoing inflation on the player’s market and the economic climate within the world of football. However, if he does not raise his standard and level of quality by much, but still meeting the criteria for the loan to become an obligation to buy, £5m is a nice profit made by LFC. Alternatively, he returns to LFC with two years won experience adding to the GK core. Further making the deal either a hit or miss.