IMScouting’s player to watch: Sercan Yildirim

IMScouting’s latest player to watch is Buraspor’s Sercan Yildirim.

This 18-year-old striker has started the season with a bang, scoring five in five in the league and attracting interest from the biggest clubs in Europe.

At just 18, Sercan Yildirim is driving Turkish football fans crazy. Following his impressive performances at Euro 2008, Arda Turan was hailed as the new wonder kid of Turkey, but Yildirim has swiftly taken that mantle with some excellent displays at the start of the new domestic season.

Bursaspor’s number nine has scored five goals in as many dazzling league appearances this campaign and he tops the Turkcell Superlig goal scorers chart, ahead of Nigerian international Julius Agahowa and former Aston Vila and Lyon striker Milan Baros.

According to the IMScouting database, his estimated market value stands at three million euros and this may well rise if he continues to score goals at a rapid rate. His contract runs out in the 2010/2011 season and his estimated salary is 100K euro per year.

After starting this season in such great form, several European clubs have already showed an interest in Yildirim. According to reports, none other than Manchester United have made a move for the young supporting striker, after scouts of the club watched him in action.

Yildirim commented in the Turkish media: “United have contacted my family and the president of the club, when a club with their reputation is interested in you, you have to take notice.”

The striker broke into the Bursaspor first team last season making his debut as a second half substitute in a 1-0 away defeat at Buyuksehir in September 2007. Three games later he scored his first senior goal in a 2-0 win at Kasimpasa but failed to score in the next eight appearances.

This season he has started in excellent form. Scoring two in the second game of the season against Genclerbirligi before scoring another quick-fire brace two games later against Kocaelispor. In their last league game before the international break, Yildirim was instrumental in Buraspor’s 2-1 win against Galatasaray, scoring one of the goals. As a result, Buraspor sit second in the Turkish league and could well challenge the more established clubs this season.

Yildrim has played at every international age group from Under-15 to Under-19 level and is widely tipped in his homeland to become a full international. Last week he scored the only goal in Turkey Under-21’s 1-0 home victory against Belarus, in his first ever game at this level. But he failed to make a mark in the second-leg, as Belarus ran out 2-0 winners and denied Yildirim and his team mates a place at Euro 2009 in Sweden.

Yildirim is a highly versatile supporting striker. It seems he has it all – great dribbling skills, fantastic positioning inside the box and very good technique with both feet. He is also able to play on the wings as a forward, like Cristiano Ronaldo, and has very good aerial ability, standing 6.0ft tall.

His goals can come from every direction – a strong shot from outside the box, an accurate header or a smart chip over the goalkeeper. (Two of his goals this season have come through lobbing the opposition goalkeeper.) Yildirim is simply always dangerous when he has the ball. Whilst he can still work on his physical presence, it seems this 18-year-old has all the necessary ability to ply his trade at the highest levels of European football.

Video evidence of Yildirim in action can be seen here.