Harambee Stars captain Michael Olunga is being linked by Turkish media outlets with a big money move to local giants Fenerbahce. Olunga has been the leading light at his current club, Al Duhail SC (Qatar) which he joined in January 2021.
Olunga’s contract with Al Duhail runs until 2023. The club currently sits second on the table in the Qatari top-flight league.
He was the top-scorer in the 2021 Asian Champions League with 9 goals, and received a guard of honor for the award during a Qatari Stars League (QSL) match between Al Duhail and Al Korr on Jan 4, 2022. He’s scored 13 league goals as well in the 2021/22 season.
According to publications including Ajannspor, Olunga is admired by the Turkish club as well as Engin Firat, the former Harambee Stars coach considered a front-runner for the Fenerbahce job. The club President Ali Koç reportedly wants Firat in the job, although other names including Okan Buruk and İsmail Kartal are being considered.
Firat is said to be keen on bringing Olunga along should he take the job. The transfer fee has been pegged at between $6 Million – $7 Million (Ksh793 million) although the fee and personal terms are yet to be settled.
The Duhail striker left for Qatar after leaving a mark in the Japanese J-League with Kashiwa Reysol. He was the first African to win the J-League MVP award.
Olunga rejected offers from clubs in top European leagues including Serie A and La Liga following his stellar showing in Japan, opting to move to Qatar. While the move raised eyebrows among a section of fans and analysts who felt it was time for a move to Europe’s top leagues for Olunga, he explained that he needed guaranteed playing time which the clubs approaching him failed to offer at the time.
Olunga also highlighted the important need for himself as a professional footballer to consider his future and secure his financial interests.
Discussing his transfer to Al Duhail in 2021, Olunga told Arocho Live: “I had several offers before going to Qatar, from La Liga and Italian leagues but as a player, I wanted to move to a place where I can play regularly and a good team which plays top football and not a team fighting relegation.”
“I am a competitive player, I had several offers on the table and I analysed them, I can even show you [some of the offers are in my email even now], I also check my style of play if it can fit any team before I sign for them.
“I can also not rule money factor in my transfer, of course, you check what the team is offering, we are footballers and we have a future to look after, we have live’s to live, we have seen many players come out of football and they start to struggle financially.
“We must have a balance of both, money and where to play, so myself I want to thank God for what he has given me and I am looking forward to the new season.”