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Sheffield United: winners all round as the 'Coca-Cola kid' signs for Fenerbahce


Alex Wolstenholme

Alex Wolstenholme is an exiled Sky Blues season ticket holder currently living in Sheffield...
[full biography]
21/06/2007 10:00:00.
read: 1245 times.

In one of the summer's most surprising transfer deals to date, Sheffield United winger Colin Kazim-Richards has joined Turkish champions Fenerbahce in a deal worth up to £1.275m.

Perhaps unusually for a transfer deal, there are no losers in this one. Not only will Kazim-Richards get the chance to play in the Champions League next season but the 20-year-old will also be lining up alongside Fenerbahce's other new signing, Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos.

Sheffield United get a decent fee for a player who was not a first-team regular and former club Brighton also get a bob or two.

The London-born player has certainly benefitted from his Turkish roots over the past year or so. He was called up firstly by the under-21's and then to the national squad by coach Fatih Terim, making his senior debut against Brazil of all teams in May 2007 and sparking interest from both Fenerbahce and Besiktas.

"I know I have made the right decision to come to the biggest club in Turkey," said Kazim-Richards after agreeing to the move.

"I can't wait for the season to start and for Fenerbahce to go on to win another Turkish title."

Signed by Bury as a 15-year-old, Kazim-Richards made 30 league appearances, mostly as a substitute for the Shakers before Brighton paid a 'six-figure' compensation sum for him June 2005 using the £250,000 won by a supporter in the Coca-Cola win a player promotion.

Seagulls boss Mark McGhee said at the time: "Since it was announced that we had won the money, I had been determined that the money should be invested and not spent without any return.

"I think Colin represents exactly that: an investment. Colin is a player for the future of this club and hopefully we will benefit from this signing in the long term."

That has certainly proved to be the case, although Kazim-Richards failed to make an impact at Brighton as they dropped into League One and had even been dropped from the first-team going into the 2006/07 season as McGhee clashed with the player who he felt had a less than professional attitude.

Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock surprisingly made him a Premiership player, paying £150,000 on deadline day in August 2006 while Brighton now benefit to the tune of up to £280,000 from the sell-on clause included in that deal.

Although not always a regular at Bramall Lane, the chance to play in the Premiership seems to have put Kazim-Richards on the straight and narrow.

"I always told Colin that he could go as far as he wanted to providing he sorted out his attitude and approach," Warnock told The Sheffield Star after the move was confirmed.

"And, to his credit, he's done that.

"Don't get me wrong, Colin still has his moments, so it's probably a good thing that he's gone somewhere where not everyone will speak very good English!

"But, seriously, he's worked hard at what he does and has become a lot more aware of those players around him.

"You could always see he had the talent. It was just a case of channelling it in the correct manner."

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