Western United have announced the signing of Turkey international and former Adelaide United central defender Ersan Gulum as they continue to build towards their debut Hyundai A-League season, which kicks off in October 2019.
Born in Melbourne, Gulum began his career with Hume City as an 18-year-old, before signing for Turkish Super League team Manisaspor in 2005.
This started a decade-long stint in Turkey, including five years with Besiktas where played in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League and made 15 appearances in the UEFA Europa League, as well as winning the league title in 2015/16 and 2016/17.
Still only 31, the Turkey international made 22 appearances for Adelaide United in the 2017/18 Hyundai A-League season, on loan from Chinese Super League club Hebei.
Most recently, he has been coaching with Football Federation Victoria club Whittlesea United, and he is expected to play a key role in developing the younger players at Western United.
“Ersan Gulum is exactly the player we have been searching for to play a key role at our new club," Western United's assistant coach John Hutchinson said. "Ersan has had a very successful career at big clubs in Turkey and then China, as well as an outstanding season in the Hyundai A-League already.
“Ersan is a quality defender who is very comfortable on the ball. In addition, he has an infectious character and brings so much international experience from great players and teams he has played with.
We will be looking to Ersan to drive the moulding of our team and culture on and off the park.”
Gulum, who has won seven caps for Turkey and played junior representative football for Australia, said: “I am a Melbourne born and bred boy and see so much excitement and appeal in the communities of the west for this new A-League club Western United.
"I met with the coaching staff and they articulated their vision for the club, and for my role, which has reinvigorated my appetite to play in the A-League.
“I like what the plans are, I see the talent that this club has already secured, and I have been charged by the coaches to take a strong role in helping these young players become seasoned professionals.
I am excited to start training; in fact, I cannot wait until July to meet my new team mates.”
Gulum is the 12th player signed by Western United FC, including Greek marquee Panagiotis Kone and Caltex Socceroos defender Josh Risdon, ahead of their maiden season in the Hyundai A-League in 2019/20.