Nuri Sahin confirmed what he even admitted was the worst kept secret in football by announcing he will join Real Madrid in the summer.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder joins an increasing band of German born players with Mediterranean parentage. However, unlike his future teammates Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil, Sahin has chosen to represent Turkey at international level rather than the country of his birth.
Already capped 26 times for his country the 22-year-old was the leading light in a Dortmund team that won its first title in nine years this season, but the real question as he swaps the north of Germany for Madrid is whether he will even get a game in this Real side.
Most Bundesliga commentators believe the role Sahin is eyeing up is the one Khedira currently employs. Although it can be argued that in some manners his style may be too similar to Xabi Alonso for the two to work perfectly in tandem, Sahin is certainly more capable of moving forward and providing a goal-scoring threat than Alonso and Khedira have this season.
The new Zidane as he has been labelled in some parts of the Spanish press (I’ll let you guess which city they are published from) is slightly wide of the mark – not to mention a tad harsh given that there literally is a new Zidane in the club’s youth ranks, Zinedine’s son Enzo. Real are already more than blessed with players capable of playing in the No.10 role with Özil, Kaka, Sergio Canales and even Karim Benzema better operating as a second-striker rather than a lone frontman.
Sahin’s best form this season has come whilst playing as part of the two in a 4-2-3-1 so, in that sense, he will suit Real’s style. However, the other potential obstruction to Sahin claiming a starting role is the recent emergence of Pepe as an aggressive holding midfield player. Should the Portuguese build on the role he was given against Barcelona specifically to cut down the space in front of Real’s back four – a job he would almost certainly do more effectively than Sahin – then the Turkish international may find, like Özil has in what has been an excellent debut season, that in the very biggest games he will become merely superstar substitute in Madrid.
Written by Kieran Canning | Spanishfootball.info