Behich heads to Istanbul to end PSV frustration


Aziz Behich’s ill-fated switch to PSV Eindhoven is over with the Australia defender on his way back to the Turkish Super Lig to join Istanbul İstanbul Başakşehir FK on a three-year deal.

Behich, 28, was unable to crack the first team under head coach Mark van Bommel, and a parting of the ways was agreed with two years of his contract still to run.

It’s believed he is already in Turkey undergoing a medical with the club set to finish as runners up to Galatasaray.

They trail their Istanbul rivals by three points with a game to go but have a vastly inferior goal difference.

Behich, who could be playing UEFA Champions League football next season with his new club, will head into Socceroos camp early next month ahead of the June 7 friendly international against Korea Republic in Busan.

He made just four Eredivisie appearances and two in the KNVB Cup after signing from Bursaspor after last year’s FIFA World Cup - was linked with a move to Fenerbahce back in 2017.

Only European rules limiting the number of clubs a player can represent in a single season scuppered a January move, as his agent Mikkel Beck sought to find a solution to Behich’s lack of game time in the Netherlands, where PSV finished runners up to Ajax in the title race.

That solution has now been found with the capital city’s fifth team, who were promoted in 2014 and finished runners up in 2016-2017.

Behich was handpicked by van Bommel to join him in Holland after the two worked together in Russia, where the Dutch legend was assistant to then Socceroos head coach Bert van Marwijk.

Behich signed for PSV along with fellow defender Trent Sainsbury, who has suffered a similar lack of first team opportunities.

During his time in the Netherlands Behich - who remains Australia’s first choice right back - made two more appearances for the national team than he managed for his club.

“Mark van Bommel (PSV coach) doesn’t think he’s the best one in his position at the club. That’s his choice and we respect it, but it’s not an easy situation,” said Beck back in February.

Behich was eclipsed at PSV by 22-year-old Spaniard Angelino, signed from Manchester City last July.

“Mark van Bommel was pretty insistent on Aziz signing for PSV,” Beck said.

“We had other options but in the end Aziz decided to go to PSV because first and foremost he wanted to play outside Turkey, but also he wanted to work with the coach that he knew.

“We anticipated he would be playing a lot and of course PSV were also in the Champions League, which would’ve been something new for Aziz.

“There were lots of big factors in signing for PSV ahead of a couple of other big clubs.

“He was really happy about the choice but of course had he known that van Bommel didn’t want to use him then we wouldn’t have signed for PSV.

“He wanted to play football not to sit on the bench.”