Feyenoord has been preparing for the new season for a week now. A week in which FC Copenhagen lost 7-0 and in which more and more tastemakers left the club. Is that cause for concern in Rotterdam?
“I don’t panic about that,” said Orkun Kökçü, one of the remaining trendsetters. “I am confident that we can start the season with a good selection.”
Kökçü is one of the nine internationals who joined the selection on Monday and then immediately left for Austria on a training camp. Among the 24 players are also the acquisitions Danilo (Ajax), Mats Wieffer (Excelsior) and Mohamed Taabouni (AZ) and Róbert Bozeník who rented out last season.
More impressive, however, is the list of players who, compared to the successful previous season, are no longer there.
I can jump high or low, but as long as nothing becomes concrete… Nobody reports to Feyenoord.
Guus Til, good for 15 goals in the Eredivisie, signed with PSV. Bryan Linssen (13 goals) moved to Japan. Luis Sinisterra (12 goals) is about to leave for Leeds United for a record amount. Cyriel Dessers (9 goals) could not be kept. The loan period of Reiss Nelson (2 goals) is over and defender Tyrell Malacia (1 goal) continues his career at Manchester United.
Of the 76 goals that Feyenoord scored in the Eredivisie last season, 52 have disappeared. Not to mention the Conference League, in which the missing players accounted for 21 of the 28 goals.
Don’t panic at Kökçü
The 21-year-old Kökçü (7 goals in the Eredivisie and 2 in the Conference League last season) may be shocked by the exodus after returning from his holiday from Turkey. But he doesn’t notice that.
“Last year a lot of players left and we only had our selection complete at the end of the transfer period,” says the midfielder. “It doesn’t make me restless and I don’t panic.”
“Of course I wholeheartedly wish the boys who have been able to take a step. Everyone follows their own path. I can say nothing else than: success. If you as Feyenoord really want to join Ajax and PSV, then you also have to occasionally let go of players on highlights and send them away with a nice transfer fee.”
His Austrian teammate Gernot Trauner also keeps a cool head. “You rarely start a new season with the same team. We’ve had a great season and then it’s normal for bigger clubs to be interested in our players.”
“We have to keep calm. We have lost some players with a lot of quality, but there are also new players and a few more coming. It is what it is.”
Jump high or low
So the motto is to stay calm and keep going. But it remains to be seen whether Kökçü will be active for Feyenoord for a long time to come. After a strong season, the Turkish international is also in the picture at clubs from Germany, England and Spain.
Kökcü, who still has a contract until mid-2025, remains calm here too. “I believe that everything will come in its own time. I can jump high or low, but as long as nothing becomes concrete… Nobody reports to Feyenoord, so I have no reason to worry about that.”
“Of course, if you read about it, it indicates that you have had a good season and that you are developing well. It also gives energy to get even more out of yourself and to develop yourself even more.”
For the time being, he is still doing that at Feyenoord, which will play a practice match against Red Bull Salzburg during the training camp in Austria next Saturday. Last Saturday, the team of trainer Arne Slot went down painfully 7-0 in a practice match with FC Copenhagen. But Kökçü is not worried about that either.
“As I said, I don’t panic. We played with many young players who for the first time could smell the high level. If we measure ourselves at full strength with such teams, such a result will certainly not fall. We stay calm, start training and get fitter. I have every confidence in it.”