PUNE CITY'S NEW SIGNING Tuncay Volkan Şanlı is much more than another forward to go along with Yandrick Ruiz and Adrian Mutu. He is predominantly a striker but he has played as a midfielder as well as a winger during his playing career. With Pune City having an all-foreigner forward line, but a predominantly Indian midfield, it may just be in David Platt's mind to have him come down and completement Zokora, James, and Jackichand in the middle.
After a couple of years with his boyhood club Sarkayaspor (second division) at his hometown in Turkey, Tuncay was picked up by Super Lig side Fenerbahçe. He played there for the next 5 years, immediately becoming a regular part of the team that went on to win the Super Lig twice in a row in 2003-04 and 2004-05, then again in 2006-07. He made a total of 204 appearances for Fenerbahçe, scoring a total of 77 goals.
In summer 2007 he moved to Middlesbrough and played regularly in the Premier League until Boro got relegated in 2008-09. He then moved to Stoke City, but did not find much success there. After scoring only 5 League goals after 44 appearances, he was sold midway through the 2010-11 season to Bundesliga side CfL Wolfsburg. But his lack of form continued as he spent most of his time at Wolfsburg on the bench, making only 5 appearances for them over two seasons before being loaned to Bolton Wanderers.
At Bolton he played regularly in the Premier League but could not score a goal, and ended up moving back to the Turkish Super Lig in summer 2012, joining Bursapor. He played the next two seasons there, but scored only once. But the saving grace is that he spent the 2014-15 season at Umm Salal in the Qatar Stars League, where he found his scoring boots again, firing in 11 goals over 26 appearances.
Which means that although Tuncay's national team career ended in 2010 (after earning 80 caps and scoring 22 goals), he is not coming off the couch by any means; he is relatively fit enough to take on the intense scheduling of the ISL.
But other than his skills on the pitch, Tuncay also brings with him an intense desire to participate in the football culture surrounding whatever club he plays. Fans of Fenerbahçe and Middlesbrough especially remember him for the evenings he spent in local gatherings interacting with fans, making friends, almost becoming one with them.
This falls right in line with the efforts Pune City have undertaken to connect with the community, and promote interactions between players and fans. Over the next few months, Tuncay can become the best brand ambassador for the franchise.