Two footballing facts that you'll learn if you know anything about me: 1. I want Real Madrid's Nuri Sahin at Manchester United, and 2. Football really likes to mess me about. Today's big story seems to involve both. In today's favourite rumour tailor-made to bother me, Sahin is linked with a one-year loan deal with Arsenal, in a move which both confuses and irritates me. Of course, transfer rumours are just that, rumours, but sometimes the rumour is so juicy that it's just worth talking about.
Firstly, news today is claiming that Sahin is travelling to England to negotiate a loan deal with an English club, widely claimed to be Arsenal, but Manchester United and Tottenham remain very firmly in the picture. Arsenal are known to be in the pursuit of an attacking midfielder, as their recent pursuit of Santi Cazorla suggests, Manchester United are always in need of a midfielder, while Spurs could be involving Sahin in any potential deal for wantaway star Luka Modric. Sahin is a wonderful talent, a deep-lying playmaker who set the world alight at Borussia Dortmund two seasons ago, and in an article as recent as three weeks ago, I practically begged for United to get him. He'd be a fantastic acquisition for any Premier League team, but how would he affect the three teams in question?
Arsenal, ironically, are the team that probably need Sahin least. As primarily a passer of the ball, Sahin fits the same bill as perennially injured Jack Wilshere and defensive midfielder Alex Song. Song is widely considered one of Arsenal's most incisive midfielders, despite his allocated role, and a purchase of Sahin would result in either Sahin or Song having to compromise their attacking responsibilities - if Wenger wishes to continue with his current set-up. Add to that the impressive form of Mikel Arteta last year, and it's virtually impossible to see where Sahin would fit in. Santi Cazorla would be a much more viable transfer for Arsenal; he'd play further up the park than Sahin would, and can even fill in on the wing. Wenger does love his versatile players.
Tottenham, depending on Sahin's ambition, would be the most likely choice for him. The North London club's struggle with their star man Luka Modric is well-publicised, with the Croatian wanting a move to Real Madrid. Spurs have placed a £35-40m price tag on Modric, and Madrid seem unwilling to go above a package deal worth £31m. Involving Sahin in any deal significantly would make Spurs more willing to sell - perhaps £25m plus player? Almost a like-for-like replacement for Modric, Spurs would easily be able to accommodate Sahin alongside Rafael van der Vaart, and would most likely work in new manager Andre Villas-Boas' preferred style of formation with a rotating three-man central midfield. Put it this way, if Tottenham had qualified for the Champions League, and Modric still wanted to leave, this probably would be a done deal.
And then come Manchester United. We don't even know if United are officially interested - all we have is hearsay and paper talk. However, due to the fact that Sahin would be perfect for the Premier League runners-up, I'm hoping someone at Old Trafford will grant my wishes. Stylistically somewhere between Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes, Sahin would be ready to take over Scholes' role upon his retirement if he joins United this year and stays. Sir Alex Ferguson has long been an advocate of deep-lying midfielders, and his pursuits of Juan Sebastian Veron and Kleberson demonstrate this, as does the hopeful attempt to convert the originally more attack-minded Anderson into one. Sahin will fit this criteria by default, and should be relatively inexpensive considering he is relatively unwanted and was only bought for an almost criminal 10 million Euros.
Looking at all three clubs, I know where I want him to go, I know where Real Madrid want him to go, and I know where he is most likely to go. If Madrid wish to retain Sahin, a move to Arsenal is ideal for all parties. With question marks over Wilshere's return, Sahin could more than ably deputise for the injured Englishman, with a hopefully restored Sahin returning to Spain at the end of the year. Madrid's pursuit of Luka Modric, however, would suggest that Sahin would be returning to a spot on the bench, so a swap move with Spurs makes the most sense for everyone involved. However, if I want fact 2 to change, the plane that Sahin is reportedly catching will be flying to Manchester rather than London.
Something tells me that won't be happening.
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