Acun Ilicali’s Hull City
In January, Acun Ilicali’s Hull City era began. The Turkish media mogul was an unknown entity on these shores, but in his homeland, he has graced the televisions in many Turkish homes. Ilicali began his media career as a football reporter earning just £12.50 a week, before working his way into a position where he bought a production company which purchased the rights to the type of shows he once presented.
Think rags to riches with a sprinkle of passion for our beautiful game. The esteemed businessman oversaw a £30m acquisition of a club he claims to have fallen in love. Said process was finalised after the turn of the year and shifted power at the club from the Allam family, who had the reigns for an eleven-year stint.
The change in Hull City’s ownership encouraged comments from Ilicali stating that he would do “the craziest of things” – some of which an owner has never done in football history. But, of course, we’ve heard it all before from foreign owners. Nonetheless, those of a Hull City persuasion should judge their new head honcho on actions alone. If the start to this summer’s transfer window is anything to go by, they could be in for a rollercoaster ride towards the Championship’s summit.
Hull City Transfer Targets
It’s hard to deny such statements with the type of player now reportedly fixed in Ilicali’s sights. Ozan Tufan boasts 65 caps for Turkey, a highly regarded Adama Traore once signed for Monaco for £12m with Luis Campos’ say-so, and similarly to Traore, Jean Michaël Seri is reportedly taking a hefty pay cut to hop aboard Ilicali’s Premier League-centred revolution.
Although the competition will be fierce, Scott Twine’s name is the most exciting of the lot; the 33-goal involvements in League One suggests the step up should be seamless and offer Hull a gem in their promotion bid. So don’t be surprised for a host of Championship clubs to join the race for Twine. However, if it’s Hull he chooses, I’d expect he’ll do so on the premise of other big names joining him. Twine in orange would be a coup, and it’s far from a done deal, yet the early move in the market for young talent as impressive as the MK Dons man shows Hull’s intent.
Late last night, Turkish journalist Ertan Süzgün broke the news that Tobias Figueiredo had put pen to paper with Hull City following his release from Nottingham Forest. Although not confirmed, this is the type of transfer that is encouraging my hand in getting behind Hull for a top-half finish. Figueiredo’s 26 no-nonsense appearances for Forest last campaign were the last in Nottingham, but potentially not his final foray into Championship football for the experienced 28-year-old Portuguese. Regardless of if they get any of the above incomings over the line, the calibre of players targeted should give Hull City fans hope.
Successful loanee Allahyar Sayyadmanesh, who will complete a £2m permanent switch, Keane Lewis-Potter and George Honeyman will be licking their lips together – a trio of impressive attacking options already pencilled in for Hull’s pre-season at the end of June. The latter of the three, Honeyman, has been handed a contract extension which should be a no-brainer if the club matches his ambitions in the transfer window.
The owner has a promotion bid in his sights. Whether he’s successful in what will be a tough race for the top six is another question entirely. However, with the quoted incomings in Hull, a top-half finish shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Recommended ante-post selection: Hull City top half finish in the Championship @ 2.50 on Unibet. Next best with William Hill @ 2.10.
Words and Graphics by @SamIngram_