The 2022/23 season saw many unexpected teams challenge for glory. Some teams ended up in their usual position in the league and in Europe, while some really surprised the others.
The Premier League saw Arsenal challenge Manchester City for the title till the very end. In Ligue 1 Lens gave PSG a run for their money. While Bundesliga had the best season over the last decade, with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern level on point – the Bavarians winning only on goal difference. While Union Berlin also had a good league season in terms of the squad quality they had. Napoli in Serie A continued the Italian trend, giving fans a fourth new winner in the last four seasons. La Liga as well saw Barcelona become champions after four seasons under manager Xavi.
While the top five European leagues had some surprising league results, Eredivisie had a new champion of their own – Feyenoord. Under manager Arne Slot, they reached the finals of last year’s Conference League, losing to Roma. This season they have defied the odds and gone on to win their first league title after seven years and only their second title in 23 years.
The lynchpin of this Feyenoord team though had been none other than Orkun Kokcu – their star midfielder. The Dutch league is filled with a special talents, but Kokcu in the 22/23 season played in a different league altogether.
The Netherlands midfielder was born in Harlem in the Dutch region and came into the scene for feyenoord in the 2019/20 season. Since then he hasn’t looked back, putting in performances of the elite level.
Kokcu is of Turkish descent and is the younger brother, with his older brother Ozan piling his trade at Giresunspor in the Turkish Super Lig. The 22-year-old joined the Gronigen football academy in 2010, and made the switch to Feyenoord’s youth setup in 2014. A midfield prodigy back then, Kokcu made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2018.
— Orkun Kökcü (@OrkunKokcu) September 2, 2022
Orkun Kokcu analysis
Kokcu was born in Netherlands who has Turkish parents. He came through the same academy at Feyenoord from where the likes pf Georginio Wijnaldum and Stefan de Vrij made a name for themselves.
The Feyenoord midfielder made the team’s bench in the 2017/18 campaign and had remarkable stats in his debut season. He broke into the first-team having scored three goals and supplying 4 assists in just 11 games.
Kokcu continued his upward trajectory from the centre of the pitch and has been Feyenoord’s player of the season over the last two campaigns. During this time he has attracted a lot of interest from the top five leagues in Europe.
In the 2023 summer transfer window, he might be on the move while his contract lasts till 2026. A youth international for Netherlands, Kokcu has made appearances for the Dutch U18 and U19 teams. In 2019, Kokcu made his intentions clear to play for his country of descent – Turkey – and has since made over 15 appearance for the Turkish national team.
Orkun Kokcu scout report
Kokcu primarily played as a conventional central midfielder, as well as featuring in an attacking ‘Number 10’ role, and also on the left. He continued his upward trajectory into the 2019/20 campaign. Kokcu quickly became a crucial member of the Feyenoord squad at the age of 18, only missing three league games, and playing the full 90 in 13 of 26 league games. In April 2019, he extended his contract until 2023 – this was extended again in June last year until 2025.
After experimenting in an advanced midfield role and out on the left in previous seasons, Kokcu established himself last season as a traditional ‘box-to-box’ player. Under previous coach Dick Advocaat, Feyenoord lined up with a 4-3-3 in the vast majority of league games.
The ability to play different types of passes makes Kokcu highly effective, as he can contribute in different situations of play. It also allows him to play different roles within the build-up, with the option to sit deeper and orchestrate the attack or get further forward and between the lines or do a combination of both as he does currently for Feyenoord.
Kokcu can effectively be viewed as a ‘complete midfielder’ – proficient in a number of different aspects of the game. His work-rate and energy has been compared to Youri Tielemans, whilst his high levels of technicality has drawn comparisons to David Silva. Kokcu style of play can be analysed in four different aspects – passing, goal and shot creation, defence, and in possession.
Orkun Kokcu transfer news
The Turkish star was a target for the Gunners back in 2020 with technical director Edu keen to tie up a deal before Euro 2020, but a move failed to materialise. The Gunners have started the 2022/23 in brilliant fashion and are in the middle of a rebuilding process and they are still looking for reinforcements in the middle of the pitch to join Thomas Partey. Kokcu could be the ideal man to come in, young, talented, with room for progression.
Arsenal are running the rule over him, but given how highly-rated they are to get their hands on one of Europe’s most impressive young midfielders. Leeds United and Chelsea have also previously expressed their interest, and a move to Spain has also been mooted. Given the progress Kokcu has achieved, it won’t take much time for one of the European elites to snap him up.