Galatasaray's mess compounded by Roberto Mancini appointment, tactical dilemmas

Burak Kara

Juventus will surely relish the rabble of the Turkish giants.

Turkish football hardly ranks highly on the radar of most football fans, but Galatasaray seem determined to bring themselves off the fringes. First, there was the sensational double swoop last January for two of Europe's most recognisable names: Wesley Sneijder, whose form might have dipped in the past few years, but was integral to Inter Milan's Champions League success in 2010, and Didier Drogba, who'd won the same competition in 2012 - just eight months before he joined the Turkish giants.

Now, they've gone and sacked Fatih Terim. A club legend, Terim spent eleven years as a defender before eight on-and-off years as manager. He was far more successful as a coach than player - there were no titles in his first stint at the club, but remarkably, four in four consecutive years, including a UEFA Cup in 2000. Terim was never likely to conquer Europe again, and the 6-1 defeat to Real Madrid compounded their poor league form, but his sacking still came as a surprise.

Whether it was a footballing decision, or political play, it has opened the door to Galatasaray's next big surprise - the appointment of Roberto Mancini. Few saw this coming, except maybe Terim, who has ironically enough already been succeeded by Mancini in a former job, at Fiorentina in 2001.

If it's not giant tifo displays, or rioting fans (which caused the derby against Beşiktaş to be abandoned), it is sensational swoops for big-name players and managers - and it's conspired to create one of the most confusing, combustible landscapes at any club in Europe. Mancini has so many issues to deal with, from the volatile fan base to Turkey's awkward 6+0+4 rule, let alone their Champions League tie against Juventus that is effectively must-win if they have any hope of progressing.

The most pressing issue at present is what to do with the team itself. The arrival of Drogba and Sneijder presented a difficult tactical dilemma midway through last season: as a strict centre-forward and playmaker, and as effectively marquee signings, they had to play in the team somewhere. Terim rejigged a basic 4-4-2 to a diamond, to accommodate Sneijder at the tip and Drogba alongside Burak Yilmaz.

The flaws in that formation, however, are apparent - and exposed by Schalke in Europe last season - and it felt more likely Terim would switch to something approaching a 4-2-3-1. That, however, shamefully meant a place on the bench for Yilmaz, a fine, pacy young striker who links up play intelligently. There's an additional, important reason why Yilmaz has to play: as a Turk, he counts as one of the necessary number of locals that must start a match.

The imbalances in the squad were remarkably further compounded over the summer by the signing of Bruma over the summer. The Portuguese winger, who impressed at the U20 World Cup, is clearly a winger - the comparisons to Cristiano Ronaldo are somewhat lazy, but he's excellent at playing high up the pitch and breaking into space in behind. His attacking threat is completely centred on his ability to cut inside from outside to in, which is difficult for central defenders to track, and so the left sided role in a 4-2-3-1 made sense.

However, that takes Galatasaray back to the pre-existing problem - fitting Yilmaz and Drogba into the side. Against Real Madrid, they placed in tandem together, with Sneijder tucked in behind - but the way in which they were taken to pieces by the ruthless Real attacks means it's unlikely Mancini will opt for that formation. A 4-3-3, meanwhile, shepherds one of the two strikers into an unnatural wide position, and the side lacks balance.

Instead, dropping one of the quartet and returning to a more straightforward 4-2-3-1, or maybe a 4-4-2, seems likely. The nature of Mancini's first opponent, Italian giants Juventus, makes his task doubly difficult - it is imperative he gets off to a good start, to get frustrated fans onside.

However, it's difficult to decipher a formula that gets the best out of the players available, which in turn impacts upon the club's ability to sort out off-field affairs. Their moves for Sneijder, Drogba and now Mancini were supposed to trigger progress in Europe, a natural follow-on of their dominance of the domestic league, but instead the club is teetering on the edge of disaster.

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