Nuri Sahin

Nuri Sahin
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It is almost unbelievable that Nuri Sahin is just 26 years of age, he seems to have been around for a lot longer than his age suggests. Maybe the three high visibility loan moves, to Feyenoord, Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, have a part in making it feel like he is far older.

His return to Dortmund, following a loan the previous season, from Real Madrid, felt like a former hero returning to his first club at the end of his career. In reality, Sahin should be just coming in to his peak, a time when the big move to Madrid should be coming along, not when it is ending.

Or it could just be because he was the Bundesliga's youngest ever player and youngest ever goalscorer that it feels like he has been around forever?

When you look at how he burst through at such a young age, making it into the full Turkey side in 2005, it is a shame to see how far his star has waned in the last few years. Partially down to injury, which badly affected his time at Madrid and ended up with them giving up on him.

As a playmaker, either deep lying or more advanced, Nuri Sahin was highly rated enough to see Madrid jump in and get him in the first place. Arsene Wenger was effusive in his praise for the young Sahin, yet one bad injury has put a complete roadblock to his career.

For me, from what I have seen of him, part of the problem was his first loan move after the injury was the wrong choice. Joining Liverpool at that time probably seemed a good idea, but it was clear that there was no clear plan for his usage there and it was a move he should have avoided.

Since then he made the loan move he should have done in the first place, if his intention was to give himself a chance of establishing himself as a Madrid player, a return to Borussia Dortmund. Really it seemed his loan to Liverpool was one aimed at getting out of Madrid, rather than just to establish his fitness.

Though again the loan spell was aimed at getting away from Madrid, rather than proving himself, which is a worry in my opinion. His attitude, to me, suggests a player who is giving up far too easily.

There was still every chance he could have established himself in the Spanish capital, but he just wanted to get away. Madrid might not have worked out, but he should surely have made every effort to force himself into their team?

For me it suggests a player who felt himself overshadowed, or even overawed, by the big names and egos in Madrid, and wanted to be the big star without the desire to make himself the number one. It is a shame to see such a talented player struggling, as his passing can be sublime and he has very good positional sense.

His main strengths are definitely his ability to create and score goals, he has that Xabi Alonso like vision, but with a left foot, rather than right, as his preferred foot. He lacks a little physically, not good in the air, not quick, not particularly strong, extremely average is probably the best way to describe him physically.

Sahin is not going to provide that driving force from midfield that powers through the opposition, nor is he going to outbattle an opposing midfield with real bite. He will help out defensively, but he is not a specialist defensive midfielder by any stretch of the imagination, though he does try to get his foot in.

Often those challenges are rash or mistimed, but at least he does try and offer protection defensively, unlike a player such as Andrea Pirlo, who is little more of a defensive presence than a cone to be dribbled around. At his best he needs to be given a bit more freedom to get around the pitch and support the attacks, rather than being shackled in the deep lying role.

Sahin is a skilful player, one you want to get on the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch, not just to allow him to pick a pass but because he also has a very good shot on him.

A good season next time out, with Borussia Dortmund, could once again see him praised as one of the best midfielders in European football, but it is time he stepped up and proved himself. He can no longer be considered a young, exciting talent, it is time he proved that he can achieve his potential.