The 19-year-old, German-born, Turkish attacking midfielder has caught the eye of many in Germany this season after spending the last campaign on loan at Karlsrhuer, the club Hamburg purchased him from in 2012.
He is the latest in an increasingly exciting line of Turkish internationals to have been brought up in the German system; however, the Turks haven’t qualified for a World Cup since reaching the semi-finals in 2002.
Former Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink recently described Calhanoglu as “cheeky” and part of “a great gang of little rascals” at the North German outfit.
Revealing more about the potential of Calhanoglu, Fink told the Bundesliga website:
The self-confidence and cheekiness I have seen from Hakan so far tells me that he has no intention of being built up slowly here. He’s already got itchy feet. We’re certainly not going to overdo things with him, but I’m really excited about seeing these young, wild players who are desperate to be successful. Arslan, Calhanoglu, Demirbay, Sobiech, Tah: this is going to be a great gang of little rascals, but if needs be, I’m not scared of reining in their enthusiasm.
Calhanoglu’s start to the season has been the best form of his career, having been playing in the third tier of German football last season.
On Squawka, he has a performance score of 295 in his opening 14 games of 2012/13, scoring four goals.
By comparison, Hamburg hero Rafael van der Vaart—the club’s other attacking midfielder—has a Squawka performance score of 315 from 12 games this campaign.
Calhanoglu has created 26 chances this season, has an average shot accuracy of 60 percent, average pass accuracy of 77 percent and has won 48 percent of his duels on the pitch, according to Squawka.
He offers Hamburg pace and intelligence going forward, as well as a feisty attitude to rattle Bundesliga defenders.
Whilst Calhanoglu certainly has the personality and potential to go on to be a great player, finding where a player so young would fit with Liverpool right now is difficult.
In fact, Liverpool already have an abundance in talent in the roles between midfield and attack—with Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Luis Alberto all lining up for that playmaking trequartista position, and Raheem Sterling and Victor Moses as wingers.
Not to say that Calhanoglu wouldn’t be a good investment for the future, but he is not first-team material for Liverpool yet.
According to Dominic King of the Daily Mail, Brendan Rodgers has indicated his intention to improve his starting XI in January, and all signs point to upgrades in defence, central midfield and up front, rather than taking a gamble on an attacking midfielder such as Calhanoglu.