Date:Saturday October 21 2006
Well maybe Tugay can't run the midfield forever but whatever Blackburn Rovers' veteran is drinking I'll have some of the same…
The 36-year-old Turkish midfielder continues to defy to sands of time with his displays in the heart of Rovers' midfield, surely he is drinking from the fountain of eternal youth or something? Either that or he is like some kind of fine wine, whisky or cheese that only matures and betters with age!
Following another fantastic display in the UEFA Cup group E game Tugay again showed just how wonderful a footballer he is and just how instrumental to Blackburn Rovers Football Club he is. The words "great" or "legend" are widely overused nowadays, you have one good game or even moment and you are usually both but Tugay certainly is great and as such will go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest Turkish footballer ever as well as being one of Rovers greatest ever.
Although Tugay quite rightly gets the praise from those who know best it is still frustrating to see him still overlooked by so many others. Put a Manchester United shirt on him for example and his name would be splashed over ever paper and all over television each and every week.
It has been said that Tugay will be offered yet another extension to his current contract so the sooner this is offered the better. He has already turned down lucrative moves to the middle east and returns to Turkey so although he may not have that many years in him committing him to the club now will only benefit Rovers so I say offer him something now and for as long as possible! Long-term stability is something he'll need for his and his families futures so why not make it at Ewood Park.
The chances are he'll be offered a contract for the 2007-2008 season on top of the remainder of this so a one-year extension. However, if it were up to me I would make it at least two, maybe three years as should he be willing to prolong his playing career that long he could easily do so as he is fit enough and good enough. All professional athletes these days look after themselves very thus carry on for longer, Tugay is no exception.
Offering a long-term deal can be difficult as should things not work out as planned unless you can mutually agree to cancel deals clubs often have to pay up all that is owed and a club like Rovers could find this hard so the most ideal scenario would be to offer him a two or three-year deal with maybe some coaching duties intertwined? If for some reason he can't play as much or does become less effective he will be utilised as a coach who has A LOT to offer.
Tugay will one day need replacing so what better way than the master passing on his quality to his pupil whilst still playing alongside him as well as coaching him? You don`t get many better than Tugay so who's to say that he couldn't turn one of Rovers' rising stars into his replacement also saving the club money? Aaron Mokoena seems the most likely replacement at the moment however he lacks that creative impetus, defensively he's as good probably better than Tugay so if he can work with him how much better could Mokoena become?
What a bargain buy at only £1.2 million Tugay has been, I say give him a long-term deal and providing he is happy with this also bring him into the coaching set up. You pay millions of pounds not only for players but also coaches, having Tugay combine both over the next two to three-years at least will save Rovers millions as well as potential earning them millions!
Make mine a pint of what you are drinking Tugay and I'll drink to a "great" Rovers and Turkish "legend!"
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Date:Saturday October 21 2006
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