FOR me, Nuri Sahin is the most exciting piece of business that Liverpool have done this Summer, even if it is only a loan deal.
A man who has already been a key player in a title winning team in the Bundesliga, not to mention player of the season, fits the bill as a player I want in the Liverpool midfield.
Even at the tender age of 23 he’s not a signing that should be viewed as a gamble. He’s fairly experienced when one considers that he has been playing almost 30 games a season every season since 2005-2006 (excepting his unfortunate Madrid journey).
But what will Sahin bring to Liverpool and what can we expect?
Well for one thing he bolsters a midfield that was big on numbers but short on talent.
His arrival means that we have 3 genuine quality players in the middle of the park who have proved their talent for a number of years in Gerrard, Lucas and Sahin.
Add Joe Allen to the mix, who has impressed in his first couple of games, and we potentially have a good range of options from which to choose in the centre of the pitch. The best thing about Sahin’s arrival is that the identity of Liverpool’s first choice midfield 3 (when fit) is uncertain; the important element of competition is back in the heart of the midfield.
And while it is still not quite as good as the ‘best midfield in the world’ of Xavi Alonso, Momo Sissoko, Gerrard and Mascherano, it feels like we’re heading back towards something closer to that class.
But it’s not just the increase in competition that Sahin adds. He will add guile and goals to the Liverpool midfield. No, he won’t be bagging 10-15 goals for the Reds but he will chip in where others haven’t. Henderson and Adam mustered a paltry 4 goals between them in a combined total of 83 games in midfield last season, a shocking average of 1 goal every 20 games. Sahin has a career average of 1 goal every 8 games and even if his return is not quite that good it will still be a much needed improvement.
Fans should not expect a flashy player or a player who will beat man after man, endlessly running rings around the opposition to the beat of the Kop’s voice. That is not to suggest he isn’t fleet of foot – he is (watch out for his trademark back-heeled deft passes) – but he is much more of a determined force in midfield with the ability to spread well direct passes across the park. His vision is very much reminiscent of Alonso’s and he is more than willing to make the odd crunching slide tackle.
Sahin’s arrival also tempers the tragic news that Lucas is back on the sidelines having worked so hard to regain his fitness. However, Lucas’ disappointment could prove to be Sahin’s making at Liverpool and one loss could prove to be an inadvertent gain. Sahin may well find himself deployed in the role Allen was bought to play in. Following Allen’s excellent display in a more defensive position against Man City, Rodgers may well go for a deep-lying Allen, Gerrard in behind Suarez and Sahin providing the link across the whole line-up, retaining possession and moving the ball on. The team could profit from this midfield triumvirate and if it clicks together, Lucas may have a fight on his hands to get back into the starting line-up. This is exactly what we want to see.
So, Sahin will provide invention, depth and strength for Liverpool let’s all hope he can also help to propel the club closer to the top 4.
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