Ferdi Kadıoğlu: Fenerbahçe’s Next Big Thing

Club: Fenerbahçe

Nationality: Turkey

Position: LB, RB, LW, RW, AM
Preferred Foot: Right

Height: 5’9”/174cm

Age: 24

Strengths: versatility, technical ability, decision-making, passing, dribbling, agility, ball-striking, IQ, work-rate, physicality, speed, weak-foot

Areas for Development: defensive positioning


After a season that saw them win the Turkish Cup and end a nine-year trophy drought, Fenerbahçe have managed to kick on and progress on all fronts under İsmail Kartal, who replaced Jorge Jesus at the helm in the summer. Despite losing Arda Guler to Real Madrid, Fener have bolstered their squad with big-name arrivals like Dušan Tadić, Fred, Edin Džeko and Leonardo Bonucci and continued to challenge for silverware.



They’ve reached the Europa Conference League semifinals, the Turkish Cup quarterfinals, and they had a chance to add to their trophy cabinet only to squander it by fielding a youth side in the Turkish Super Cup Final against Galatasaray. With one match remaining, Fener sit three points behind Galatasaray. In order to claim their first league title in a decade, they need to beat İstanbulspor, and they need Konyaspor to do them a solid by beating Galatasaray.


Whether or not they manage to end their title drought, it is clear that one Fener player who will be in high demand is Ferdi Kadıoğlu. A technically secure, intelligent fullback with great creativity either through his passing ability or dribbling, Kadıoğlu glides on the ball with composure and is an associative player who loves to interchange with his teammates whether at fullback, attacking midfielder or on the wings.

The Turkish prospect possesses a tight turning radius which makes him press resistant when on the ball, and the fact he’s good with his weak foot means he doesn’t have much angle bias on the ball. He will take on his marker either way, making him less predictable on the ball.


Kadıoğlu’s decision-making is where his intelligence shines. On the ball, he has good pass selection and judges the weight of pass well on through balls and can pick the right pass to slot in attackers running in behind. In the final third, he’ll overlap his left winger to create cutbacks, and he can also create chances via his crossing too.


He has great ball-striking and shooting from distance and off both feet. When in wider positions, he’ll shoot with more finesse and curl the ball into the top far corner, but when in more central areas, he will strike the ball with real power through his laces.


A persistent worker, he covers every blade of grass and is more than capable of playing across the pitch and performing to a high standard. He has the physicality to win ground duels and boasts the stamina and speed to hold his own in physical battles, and his electric speed allows him to cover plenty of ground and recover on the counter.

The standout trait with Ferdi Kadıoğlu is his versatility. His football education started in Netherlands at NEC Nijmegen where he played mainly as an attacking midfielder and occasionally on the wings, enabling his intelligence, creativity and dribbling prowess to take root. After a decade at NEC, he made the move to Fener in 2018, where he has gradually emerged into a star.


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When Vítor Pereira moved Kadıoğlu into the fullback position, he transitioned seamlessly into a top-quality fullback who adds a lot on the ball, and over time he’s improved out of possession as well. A versatile performer, Kadıoğlu doesn’t neglect his defensive duties either, standing his ground and choosing not to lunge in and make rash decisions in 1v1 battles.


Whilst his positional awareness needs some work, his physicality and footballing IQ make him a vital performer for the Yellow Canaries. He could operate as an inverted fullback, but right now, Fener manager İsmail Kartal employes him as a traditional overlapping fullback role who stays wide, maneuvers his way into the final third, and then cuts inside to shoot.


He has the press resistance, dribbling, creativity, passing ability, athleticism and vision to play as an inverted right back or a left back. Similarly to João Cancelo, he can seem like an attacker on the ball, a situational winger who offers creativity and dynamism to the team’s possession play. With a contract until 2026, it’s only a matter of time before he follows in the footsteps of Sacha Boey and becomes the latest Süper Lig fullback to earn a big move.



The Frenchman left Galatasaray in January and joined Bayern Munich for €30 million with an additional €5 million in potential add-ons, but he has been unable to impose himself due in part to an injury-filled start to his time in Bavaria. Whilst Boey is far more active defensively, stronger physically and more adept at defending 1v1 situations, Kadıoğlu is streets ahead of him in terms of attacking play.


Boey is skilled at overlapping and has a strong ball-striking ability, but Kadıoğlu is a far more talented passer and a more progressive player, leading the Süper Lig’s fullbacks in progressive carries. He has thrived in Istanbul and emerged as one of the first names on the team sheet, even captaining Fener on occasion, and all signs point to him departing the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium sooner rather than later.


Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a few players depart Fener for hefty fees, with Vedat Muriqi (Lazio), Kim Min-jae and Arda Güler heading for some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Due to Kadıoğlu not having a release clause, there’s a very good chance he could end up being Fener’s club-record sale this summer — the only question is, what club would best suit him?



Considering his stamina, athleticism, and ability to play either as a right back or as a left back, he could be an excellent fit for Arsenal. A speedy defender who’s capable of inverting into central areas and overlapping to support the attack, he’d thrive at pushing forward on the flanks and enabling Gabriel Martinelli or Leandro Trossard to receive the ball in the half-spaces, cut inside and shoot frequently.


Martinelli has taken a step back in his development this season, and it’s clear that Granit Xhaka’s departure has played a role in his decline, but with an associative, overlapping left back like Kadıoğlu, the Brazilian could get back to his best in 2024/25. Kadıoğlu could also be cover for the wide attackers due to his quality in 1v1 situations, capable of taking on players on both sides and utilizing his dribbling ability, defensive work rate and his ball-striking ability.


It remains to be seen whether or not Kadıoğlu becomes the second Turkish player to play for the Gunners after Oğuzhan Özyakup, but one thing’s for sure: he looks set to play a pivotal role in this summer’s Euros. Similarly to Özyakup, Kadıoğlu began his career with the Dutch youth sides, playing at every level for the Oranje from U-16 to U-21, before switching over to Turkey’s senior team in 2022.


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Since making his senior debut in June 2022, he’s already racked up 15 appearances for the Turkish national team and even scored his first goal in a 3-2 friendly victory against Germany last November. With Turkey set to face off against a daunting group featuring Czech Republic, Portugal and Georgia, expect the 24-year-old to be one of the leading men for the Crescent Stars in Germany.


By: Ben Mattinson / @Ben_Mattinson_

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / ANP / Getty