Nuri Sahin: Madrid's Forgotten Star Can Shine At Anfield

Electric at Dortmund but left out in the cold at Real Madrid, it was expected Sahin would go to Arsenal on loan. But with Liverpool mentioned, and Brendan Rogers' friendship with Jose to take into account, here's why he'd be ace at Anfield...


Electric at Dortmund but left out in the cold at Real Madrid, it was expected Sahin would go to Arsenal on loan. But with Liverpool mentioned, and Brendan Rogers' friendship with Jose to take into account, here's why he'd be ace at Anfield...

When I was asked to write a piece on Nuri Sahin and the unfortunate predicament he has found himself in at Madrid my heart sank a little, I had almost forgotten about him. The Bundesliga player of the season last year, the gem in Dortmund’s title winning crown and the player Germany were so loathe to lose has in the space of just 10 months almost completely disappeared. Featuring in just a single league match for Real Madrid after starting more than 40 for Dortmund last season, Sahin has found it almost impossible to win favour over the more established Alonso and ex Bundesliga players Khedira and Ozil in Jose Mourinho’s set-up.

Sahin has been doing the rounds in transfer rumour columns ever since he starred at the 2005 U-17 World Cup in Peru, collecting the Bronze Ball and Silver Shoe awards for his all action midfield displays for Turkey. Described by Arsene Wenger not long after the tournament as ‘one of the greatest talents in Europe under 18’,  it was widely speculated that the Arsenal manager would have tried to secure the midfielder had it not been for a certain young Catalan already making waves under his tutelage. Nuri Sahin was born in West Germany to Turkish immigrants much like his team mate Mesut Ozil, unlike Ozil though Sahin chose to represent his country of origin and played at every level until making his debut for the senior side against Germany in 2005, a game in which the then 17 year old scored the winner to further illustrate just what Germany had missed out on.

Sahin made his debut in the Bundesliga at just 16 years of age and remains the youngest ever player to feature in the German top flight, he also broke the record as the youngest ever goal scorer netting against Nuremberg in the same season. His outstanding technical quality and maturity belying his teenage years saw him force his way into then coach Bert van Marwijk’s plans, playing alongside Tomas Rosicky and filling in for the injury plagued Lars Ricken. When van Marwijk left Dortmund to return to former side Feyenoord he made it his first priority to bring his young protégé along with him, new Dortmund coach Thomas Doll had opted for a more experienced midfield as the club teetered on the edge of financial ruin. He was an automatic starter for Feyenoord and enjoyed a productive campaign, becoming a fans favourite and further honing his incredible passing range.

If Mourinho cashes in, one of the finest midfielders of his generation won't be short of options

After two seasons as part of Klopp’s steady rebuilding process Sahin exploded last season as Dortmund won the title, playing alongside Sven Bender at the base of the Dortmund midfield as a deep-lying all action playmaker. His ability to consistently produce a killer ball in behind saw him rack up an impressive 13 assists and despite playing in a withdrawn role scored 8 times. His cultured passing and polished delivery from set pieces are not his only strengths with a burning desire to win sometimes bubbling over , his hilarious exchange with Lukas Podolski at the end of a Dortmund Cologne clash last season a perfect example.

There were suggestions at the end of last season that perhaps he should stay and play in the clubs Champions League campaign before jetting off into the sunset, Sahin declared his absolute confidence in the move at the time however no doubt looking at Ozil’s seamless transition and seeing no reason why he couldn’t do the same. Sahin had a buyout clause of a meagre 12 million Euros and murmurs of a deal being all but agreed with Madrid emerged before Dortmund had even been crowned champions.

Now there is heavy speculation that Sahin is close to completing a season long loan to a top Premiership club, with Arsenal said to be his most likely destination. Wenger has been quick out of the blocks in the transfer market so far. The scrambled panic of last season replaced by the shrewd, intelligent signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, with Malaga trickster Santi Cazorla expected to follow suit. If Sahin joins then Arsenal could once again be challenging for the title, even if a certain contract rebel striker does eventually up sticks to Manchester.

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