£17.5m Manchester City reject linked with joining £11.5m Liverpool flop in Turkey

Ryan Babel

Released on Monday Roque Santa Cruz has been linked with joining Ryan Babel at Turkish outfit Kasimpasa.

The list of teams being linked with signing former Blackburn Rovers and Manchester City striker Roque Santa Cruz grew by one today. United Arab Emirates outfit Al-Nasr SC, based in Dubai, have today been linked with bringing in the Paraguayan international.

They join the likes of Hamburg SV, Bologna, Universidad de Chile, Cerro Porteno, PAOK Salonika and perhaps most predictably of all Stoke City.

New Potters boss Mark Hughes previously signed him at Blackburn and City so there was little surprise when he was linked with snapping up the free agent this summer; despite the 31-year-old reportedly suggesting he had no plans to return to England.

The injury-prone striker spent last season on loan in La Liga for a second year in succession from Manchester City. This time it was Malaga and he had a solid but not inspiring campaign that at least reminded people that on his day Santa Cruz can still provide the goods in the striking department; before being released by City on Monday.

Clearly, considering the amount of teams courting his signature, this did not go unnoticed.

But one team that caught my eye were Turkish outfit Kasimpasa; because it would be yet another ambitious move for the team.

The Apaches are clearly trying to challenge at the top end of the Turkish Super Lig next season and are going the right way about it. They have former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze as head coach. They also have former Manchester City goalkeeper Andreas Isaakson and West Brom defender Ryan Donk in their first-team squad.

But of course they most recently hit the headlines for snapping up former Liverpool player Ryan Babel.

Now I have already looked at that move previously but what are the chances of Santa Cruz actually joining him?

Well going on the clubs blind ambition pretty high but other than that it is hard to consider this deal a real possibility.

Turkish football restricts teams to 10 foreign players in their squad; and after a recent influx of new signings Kasimpasa currently have 11 even before any deal for Santa Cruz.

Then there is the fact that Kasimpasa are not exactly short of strikers. They recently signed free-scoring Syrian striker Sanharib Malki from Eredivisie side Roda JC and Argentine support striker Ezequiel Scarione from Swiss outfit St Gallen.

Add that to Turkish under-21 international Sahin Aygunes, current number ’10’ Adem Buyuk, Nigerian interntional and former Almerial striker Kalu Uche plus Uruguayan youth internationals Santiago Garcia and Tabare Viudez and attacking options are not entirely a priority.

But then again this is an ambitious side with dreams of challenging their more illustrious neighbours Besiktas, Fenerbahce and of course current champions Galatasaray.

So, never say never; but say probably not.

images: © Paolo Camera, © vincentteeuwen

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