Less than a year ago, 23-year-old Turkish midfielder Nuri Şahin must have felt on top of the world. After Borussia Dortmund shocked German Football and overthrew the giants that are Bayern München, winning the Bundesliga by 7 points, Nuri, who was considered by many to be the best player in the league, secured a €10M move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. Many expected Dortmund to be the ones that would suffer as a result of the transfer- but they were wrong. Die Borussen replaced Şahin with young German midfielder İlkay Gündoğan, and retained their title whilst Nuri has struggled to find his feet. In fact, one year on, Nuri has found himself on the fringes at the Bernabéu, playing just 4 league games 2 of them off the bench. This, along with Madrid’s interest in Tottenham’s Croatian genius Luka Modrić, has led to speculation of a move away from Madrid- either on loan or permanently.
One of the clubs Nuri has been linked to is none other than Arsenal, with one newspaper, namely the Daily Mail, reporting that “Arsenal are on the brink of completing the signing of Real Madrid midfielder Nuri Sahin on a season-long loan deal.” I, personally, was giddy when I heard this (I’m a huge fan of his) and the rumours have really picked up over the last 24 hours, with multiple journalists claiming that Arsenal are heading the ‘queue’ for him. Arsène Wenger, however, was quick to play down these rumours. Speaking on the 27th July, Arsène said “We [Arsenal] did not sign anybody today, this report [regarding Şahin] is wrong. We are not signing anybody at the moment – we are not close.” Thought he was quick to add that “In the future, you never know”. Interesting stuff.
If Şahin was to join Arsenal, the gunners are in for a treat. Blessed with incredible technique and passing abilities, Şahin would feel right at home in Arsenal’s possession-orientated game. He was Dortmund’s ‘metronome’ before transferring to Madrid, operating in a deep midfield role. When the defensive line pushed up, he would drop back and provide an option for Nevan Subotic or Mats Hummels to pass to, allowing Dortmund to retain possession and set off on one of their trademark high-paced attacks. Very similar to legendary Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo in terms of his style-of-play and grace on the ball. He has the ability to either shunt the ball out wide with a simple pass, ping a 40-yard ball up to the strikers or make an elegant-yet-powerful driving run through the midfield, pushing the team forward. He was the key man at Dortmund, and he very well could be at Arsenal. Arsenal’s brightest talent Jack Wilshere, as well as Tomáš Rosický, who impressed in the latter stages of the premier league season, are both set to miss out the first couple of months of the coming season, Aaron Ramsey is out-of-form, Abou Diaby is extremely injury-prone and Francis Coquelin is inexperienced. This leaves only Alex Song and Mikel Arteta as players who could be considered ‘ever-presents’ in the Arsenal first-team, however, Song could very well be travelling to the African cup of Nations in January. This leaves just one. This has to be fixed. Squad depth is key. Squad depth is what wins you titles… and who better to offer depth to the squad than the Bundesliga title-winning and unquestionably talented Nuri Şahin?