Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tuncay Agrees to Deal With Middlesbrough

Tuncay Agrees to Deal With Middlesbrough
By Nathan L. Redd

After months of speculation, Fenerbahce forward Tuncay Sanli will make his move to the English Premiership next season. The move surprised very few, but the expected destination in Europe was not AC Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, or another high-profile European club. Tuncay agreed to terms with Middlesbrough on Tuesday. The deal will bring a young player with UEFA Champions League experience to a club that has never played in Champions League, and just made their first appearance in the UEFA Cup three years ago.

Middlesbrough Chief Executive Keith Lamb agreed to terms with Tuncay after a visit to Istanbul on Tuesday. Lamb said on the club's official website "Tuncay will travel to Teesside next week to take a medical examination. He has agreed to personal terms and the deal is a free transfer as he is out of contract with Fenerbahce."

The move sees Fener's captain, the player many fans view as a "lifetime Fenerli" leave the club after five seasons. Tuncay scored 59 goals for Fenerbahce in those five seasons over the span of 154 league games. He had added fuel to the speculation that he would leave in recent weeks, and his list of suitors seemed to grow by the minute. Many Fenerbahce fans held out hope that he would return to Kadikoy for their UEFA Champions League campaign in 2007-2008, but were also resigned to possibly losing him to another European club. Middlesbrough, however, was not expected to be that club. Tuncay had spoken with both Middlesbrough and Birmingham City recently, but because of the teams' somewhat low-profile, many thought these discussions were just a maneuver to either get a larger deal from Fenerbahce or more attention from a larger European club.

Middlesbrough reached the UEFA Cup Final in 2006, losing to Sevilla. They finished in 12th place at the end of the 2006-2007 season.


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