DOMINIC Solanke, Youri Tielemans, Luka Jovic, Ousmane Dembele, Ruben Neves… Enes Unal.

In 2014, the Guardian pooled together football experts from across the globe to design a list of the 40 best young talents in world football to keep an eye on.

Of course, not all are going to go on and reach the heights their early talent suggests.

But fast forward almost nine years and a good handful of that Next Gen list have reached the upper echelons in the game.

Having signed for Cherries and sealed a move to the Premier League, Unal will now be hoping to continue his rise in the sport.

In that Guardian article, Emre Sarigul, expert writer for, described a then-17-year-old Unal as “undoubtedly the most promising Turkish striker since the Bull of Bosphorus, Hakan Sukur”.

Unal was making his mark with Bursaspor at the time, having bagged an astonishing 182 goals in 110 appearances for the club at youth level. He was also doing it on the international stage, scoring 24 times in 25 games for the under-16s, and having already been called up by the U21s.

In August 2013, aged 16, Unal became the youngster ever scorer in the Turkish top flight, bagging against giants Galatasaray.

Unsurprisingly, clubs came calling, Chelsea and Roma reportedly interested, but Unal joined Manchester City for £2million in 2015. Work permit issues initially prevented him from featuring competitively, but in pre-season he was handed a chance.

His ‘debut’ came in a friendly against Adelaide United, featuring in a team alongside the likes of Gael Clichy, Richard Wright, Fernando and Jesus Navas.

Loan spells followed, at Genk, NAC Breda and FC Twente, where Unal began to highlight his goalscoring credentials.

A permanent switch to Villarreal followed in 2017, but he was again loaned out, to Levante and Valladolid.

Getafe came calling in 2020, where Unal become a regular in the side. He left this week to join Cherries having netted 36 goals in 109 appearances.

So, nine years on, what does Emre Sarigul make of Enes Unal now?

He told the Daily Echo: “I have been following Enes Unal for years now and first noticed his talent back at Bursaspor.

“Unal is a physical striker, a very good finisher with impressive technical ability, movement and intelligence. 

“I think Unal is well suited for the Premier League, his physicality should help him settle in. He is hard-working and has a professional approach.

“His first transfer was to Manchester City, who spotted his talent early on.

“It took him a while to adapt to top level European football, but he now has years of experience under his belt.

“Unal has developed into a confident, high-level striker who has proven himself in La Liga.

“He never got a chance to prove himself at City. Due to his age and inexperience he was loaned out but now he has the opportunity to play in England again, where the first major step of his football career began.”

Asked if the price Cherries are set to pay to turn Unal’s loan permanent in the summer represents good value, Sarigul added: “In today’s market €16.5m could prove to be a bargain for Enes.

“His goal record at Getafe speaks for itself and he is a player who has a desire to keep improving.

“In his spare time he likes to read and study, he has always had a thirst for knowledge and this has helped him on the field.

“He continues to develop and has not peaked yet.

“I think he will make a name for himself in the Premier League and win over the Bournemouth fans.

“He is a team player and does not have a big ego, I believe he will be a valuable asset to the team. 

“He looked sharp in his first start back from injury. He has made a full recovery and hopefully will stay injury-free.”

Bournemouth Echo:

During his time in Spain, Unal played alongside some faces familiar to Cherries fans in Jefferson Lerma and Diego Rico.

He is also well known to Andoni Iraola, notably scoring against his Rayo Vallecano side last season, charging down a clearance from goalkeeper Stole Dimitrievski.

Discussing his new striker, who will come in to compete with Dominic Solanke, Iraola said: “He’s a number nine. He’s very good at finishing.

“He also has a very good long-range shot, free-kicks and good at headers. He has good physicality to keep the ball and helps his teammates.

“He is quite complete as a number nine.”

Unal may have to wait to make his Cherries debut, his visa process still to be finalised, before flying to England from Madrid.