With the transfer window open in Europe, there has been a surge of Iraqi players linked with several clubs in the region. Humam Tariq was recently in Turkey undergoing negotiations with second-tier club Elazığspor. The midfielder was previously set to sign with the club in January, but the transfer fell through in the last moment when Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya demanded a hefty transfer fee, which the Turkish club refused to pay.
The 25 year old was once again in discussion with Elazığspor last week, but negotiations remained unsuccessful. The player demanded a salary which the Turkish side felt was excessive. Furthermore, the club asked for Humam to commit to a short trial period before signing the contract, which he found unacceptable. As of now, all negotiations with Elazığspor have come to a halt.
Mohanad Ali Kadhim has also been linked with numerous clubs in Turkey. The striker is a well-known name in world football, but the scouts and clubs that have tracked him have concluded that he has a tendency to crumble under pressure. The player has an impressive all-round game, where he gets himself into good positions and is clever with his movement around the box. However, his finishing is often rash and he fails to turn up for his team when they need him most. Likewise, there are doubts over the quality of the Iraqi league itself. Muhanad might be scoring regularly in the Iraqi league but there is no certainty he would be able to replicate this in a major league elsewhere.
In an exclusive interview with IraqFootball.me, Muhanad’s agent Behrooz Dezhbod has discussed the player’s current offers and stated that there are various first division Turkish sides interested in his signature. This would be a wonderful opportunity for Muhanad to prove himself in a better league before signing for a bigger European club. It would also allow him to continue his development as a striker, rather than him sitting on the bench of a major side.
Despite having never played at the top level, Muhanned has a great opportunity to sign with a Turkish side in the first division, earn good wages and develop into a much more complete striker whilst simultaneously proving himself to the rest of Europe. Should he be able to do this, it is extremely likely that offers will come along from bigger and better sides. However, as with many Iraqi players, the lack of ambition means that they expect to be playing at the very top level without putting in the hard work first.
As of now, Muhanad has already signed a pre-contract with the undisclosed Turkish side and has even been given his plane ticket to finalise the transfer. Al-Shorta have even given their approval for the transfer to go ahead, with them earning 10% of future transfer fee. However, it appears Muhanad is now backing off from the transfer. The player has claimed that he has a contract with Al-Shorta and that they do not allow him to leave. In actual fact, his contract states that he is free to sign with any foreign club that submits him a formal offer.
Muhanad is going to miss out on a huge opportunity to develop as a footballer simply due to the fact that he is scared to test himself in a huge league. Playing in the Gulf leagues is different to playing in Europe, where players not performing are at risk being benched and forced to train twice as hard as in their Gulf clubs. However, to be a successful footballer, players need to leave their comfort zone in order to progress – just ask Osama Rashid.
According to Behrooz Dezhbod, another talented player available to Turkish clubs is Safaa Hadi, who plays for Al Zawra’a. The young midfielder was Iraq’s stand out player in the U23 Asian Cup 2018, showing incredible composure and positioning on the pitch. He has an excellent range of passing and a dominant presence which is quite contrasting to most Iraqi players. There are several Turkish clubs interested in signing the youngster, however, there are several agents pushing for Safaa to instead sign for Gulf clubs instead. For Safaa, signing in Turkey would be a huge opportunity to fulfil his potential and become Saad Abdulamir’s long-term replacement in the national team. However, should he sign for a Gulf side, it would show a massive lack of ambition.
Iraqi players need to start looking at the bigger picture and aspiring to challenge at the very top of world football. Ali Adnan and Osama Rashid have shown the rest of the world what can be achieved with motivation, hard work and ambition. Safaa Hadi, Humam and Muhanned need to take note as all three are young and can still develop much further.