A quick note before getting onto the blog proper – the readership of this blog has taken off a lot quicker than I could have ever hoped for. Much quicker than the old Third-Gen blog took to get settled, although that was before the advent of Twitter (more precisely, me knowing what on earth I was doing with Twitter). So thanks for all the reads to those who have chanced upon this blog. Hopefully the comments can follow suit – converting views to comments is something I’ve never quite got the hang of, but over time I’m hoping to collect some regular readers and develop a few feisty discussions along the way. A big thank you to those who have already shared their thoughts; I’m looking forward to hearing more from all of you.
Nuri Sahin is one of the latest players to be seriously linked to Arsenal, with Marca (the Daily Mail of Spain) reporting some serious movements to bring the player to north London on a season-long loan. The reports have been picked up by a host of other papers, including the Guardian.
I’ve heard some refer to him as a ‘classier’ version of Alex Song. I think this is because he has a more conservative hairstyle than the Cameroonian – think of Neymar. Excellent striker? Check. Brilliant forward? Double check. Classy player? Not with that hair, baby. Anyway, I digress. For the most part, Sahin is a similar type of player to Song in his position, long ball ability and mobility, though Song would easily be the more physical player.
What Sahin would definitely bring is competition for Song’s spot. This is a man who can sit back on the half-way line, put in biting tackles and immediately look to distribute once in possession.
There is one problem with Sahin as competition for Song. It fails to sort out the problem of Song’s wanderings into more attacking positions, leaving the back line exposed. Sahin is a technical player who could also rate himself capable up front, and he could try out similar forays. While the M’Vila rumours look to have well and truly died, you at least have a midfielder there who has his priorities the right way.
This is not meant to be a smirch on Song. I think he’s developed into a fantastic midfielder, but he’s not the complete article yet. That will require a perfection of his defensive abilities, and that can only come through good coaching (step forward Steve Bould) and competition for places. The same could be said for young Francis Coquelin’s development – older players should not be seen as obstacles, but as people to learn from.
The part I don’t like about the whole reported setup is the fact Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem to want to slap a future fee on the deal. There’s a few things wrong with this: their purchase of the vastly overrated Luka Modric (£36 million for a guy with how many goals and assists, you ask?) puts Sahin further down the pecking order, and the reality is he is set to stay there next season. If the manager doesn’t feel Sahin’s worth playing now, he probably won’t ever believe so in future. Sahin’s got some developing to do, but this is a kid who has won the Bundesliga with Dortmund. He’s got skills, but clearly not enough for Madrid to stymie its addiction to flashing its giant cheque book.
The other thing about the future fee issue that spells trouble is the most obvious one. If it all works out for Arsenal after one season, we’re liable to be outbid by any other big time charlie who wants to have a splash on the Turk. This is no Benayoun deal – an older player drafted in as effective cover for the side – this is a young up-and-comer who could do some serious damage in future years.
That fact is exactly why Mourinho won’t agree to the future fee. But if we’re all honest, can any of us say the kid has a future at Real Madrid, compared to a stint with Arsenal?