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Jem Karacan

Born: 21st February 1989 
Nationality: Turkey 
Position: Midfielder 
Royals first team debut:  Reading 5-1 Luton – 26/08/08 
Appearances: 160(+15) 
Goals: 12 

Karacan’s story:
Karacan, who had been on the books at Wimbledon, was first spotted by our scouts whilst playing against our Academy on trial with Manchester United. 

With obvious talent, the 18-year-old signed a professional contract with the club on 6th July 2007, but his first taste of professional football came with loan spells out with Bournemouth and Millwall. 

On returning to the Royals in 2008 he was thrust within the first team, scoring on his debut in our 5-1 Carling Cup victory over Luton. 

Having gained plenty of experience at League One clubs the previous season, the fully-committed Turkish International had no trouble in settling into the first team plans at Madejski stadium. 

A consistent performer, Karacan hit 100 appearances for the Royals as he played an integral part in our 2011/12 tittle-winning campaign. 

37 league appearances were cut short that season when the Academy graduate picked-up a broken ankle in the win against Leeds here that April. 

Coming second in the Player of the Year vote, Karacan returned to fitness in time for the start of the following Premier League season, netting his first top flight goal during the 4-2 away beating of Fulham. 

Jem began the 2013/14 season in tremendous form, scoring twice in an action-packed 3-3 draw with Watford in August – devastatingly though another huge injury blow was to be on the horizon. 

Just four games later, for a second time during a home fixture against Leeds, upon falling awkwardly on his knee Karacan had ruptured both anterior cruciate and medial ligaments, ruling him out of the game for over a year. 

After much anticipation and patient waiting, the moment in question eventually came. On the 10th January 2015, Madejski Stadium erupted in applause to see the skipper re-entre the field of play after such a lengthy spell bound to the side-lines. 

Playing the full-ninety against Birmingham for the first time since his injury, Karacan’s appearances that season also included gracing the hallowed turf of Wembley in our first FA Cup semi-final in 1988 years. 

Beyond the Hoops:
In the summer of 2015, on the ending of his contract with the Royals, Jem made the dream transfer to Turkish Süper Lig side Galatasaray S.K., signing a three-year deal.

However first team chances were limited and on 1st February 2016, Karacan was loaned to fellow Süper Lig club Bursaspor until the end of the 2015–16.

On 11th March 2017, Karacan joined Bolton Wanderers on a one-month contract, making his debut for the Trotters from the substitutes bench that same day, coming on for Darren Pratley in a 4-2 win away at Fleetwood Town.

On the final day of the season, Karacan scored the opening goal to put Bolton 1-0 up against Peterborough United in a 3-0 win, which was enough to seal promotion back to Championship as runners up. He signed a one year deal with Wanderers as a result!