Willem II seems to have pulled off a major coup in convincing talented German midfielder Atakan Akkaynak to join the club from Bayer Leverkusen this summer and he could be set to take the Eredivisie by storm. 

  • By Michael Bell
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Born in Germany, with Turkish roots, Akkaynak joined Bayer Leverkusen’s academy at the age of seven. The midfielder’s reputation has been growing since the with Akkaynak part of Germany’s national team from the U15’s upwards. He captained his country at the U17 European Championships in 2016 and earned rave reviews for his performances.

For the last two seasons, Akkaynak has starred for the club’s U19 sides in the UEFA Youth League and youth Bundesliga. His two goals in six UEFA Youth League games saw scouts from around Europe take notice of the youngster, and he was linked with Chelsea and Barcelona.

However, Akkaynak has failed to make the breakthrough into the Leverkusen first team and this summer he made a surprising move to join Willem II on a three-year deal.

Style of Play

Akkaynak is a creative box-to-box midfielder, who can also play deeper on the pitch. The 19-year-old loves to control the play with his extensive passing range and vision.

He is a good reader of the game and has plenty of energy to burst around the field as he hunts down the ball and sets his team back on the attack. A leader on the pitch for Leverkusen’s U19’s he is also very composed in possession and confident in front of goal.

The youngster does need to add some strength to his game to stop him being pushed off the ball at senior level but that will come with some work in the gym.

What to expect from Akkaynak this season

After being labelled as a wonderkid for years, Akkaynak now needs to prove himself at senior level and will get a fantastic opportunity for minutes at Willem II.

He will slot into the Tilburg’s midfield this season, make his senior debut and then look to assert himself on the Eredivisie.

Akkaynak was brave to leave Leverkusen, where he has been comfortable for years, but it will prove to be the right decision if he is once again being linked with the best in Europe after this season.

Michael Bell (59 Posts)