Yusuf Yazici, the scorer of a hat-trick at Sparta Prague, is set to play a big role for LOSC this season as they continue their push both domestically and in Europe.
Born in Trabzon, the Turk came through the ranks at Trabzonspor, his home club, and signed his first professional contract at the age of 18 before making his league debut in February 2016. It was in the second half of the 2016-2017 season that the attacking midfielder made his real breakthrough and his form led to a Turkey debut in June 2017; a successful first match in national colours as he supplied an assist in a 4-1 victory.
His eye for goal became apparent in 2017-2018 as he netted 10 times in the league and in the summer of 2019 LOSC moved to sign the elegant left-footer for 16.5 million euros, briefly making him the club's record signing, until Renato Sanches joined from Bayern Munich. Yazici only managed nine league starts - and a penalty against Bordeaux - before suffering a season-ending knee injury at Monaco on December 21 2019.
Style of play:
With a sweet left foot, the skilful Yazici can operate in a number of positions, though is best suited to a playmaking role behind a centre-forward. At LOSC he has mainly operated on the right side of midfield, a position where there is intense competition for places.
Yazici had only played 45 minutes of Ligue 1 Uber Eats football - ncluding a goal in the 4-0 derby win over Lens - spread across six substitute appearances, before starting in the Europa League at Sparta Prague on Matchday 1 of the group stage. The game could not have gone better for the 23-year-old as he became the first LOSC player to net a European hat-trick and helped end a run of 17 matches without a victory for the club on the continental scene.
Yazici pressed for a start three days later at Nice but coach Christophe Galtier is wary of overplaying him given the amount of time he missed with his knee injury. Yazici is a regular in the Turkey squad and started the friendly against Germany in October before featuring as a substitute in UEFA Nations League matches against Turkey and Serbia. The former Trabzonspor player is determined to feature for his country at the Euro.
What they said:
"He brings something different to our play with his left foot, his shot, and his vision. I decided to start him out wide and that was the wrong option and something that needed correcting rapidly. When he is between the lines, he has his vision and the quality of his left foot. He's obsessed with the goal. It was important for him and the team. I'm very happy for him. Recently, he has not been happy, and I can tell you that he is happy in the dressing room."
LOSC coach Christophe Galtier, speaking after Yazici's hat-trick at Sparta Prague on October 22
"I can only sum up my feelings with one word: pride. There is no other word to describe what I feel. I am very grateful that the club saw me as deserving of this great honour."
Yazici, speaking to goal.com in March 2020 about Trabzonspor retiring his number 97 shirt