Nuri Sahin in profile

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On signing for Liverpool on loan from Real Madrid, Nuri Şahin expressed his realisation that he had joined “a very big football club with a huge history." That wording could have applied to the three clubs Şahin had previously represented: Borussia Dortmund, Feyenoord and Real Madrid, all of whom had been European champions at some time in their past. Nuri admitted that he had talked about Liverpool with one of the club’s legendary European Cup winners, Xabi Alonso, and that Alonso had encouraged him to move to England at a time when he needed to move away from Real Madrid in order to play more regularly. Even though the deal is only scheduled to last for a season, Şahin has not ruled out making a permanent move if things go well during his initial loan-period.

Although Şahin was born in Germany, he is of Turkish descent and Turkey is the country that he represented at various age-groups until he became a senior international for the first time in 2005. At a time when he and his teammates had just won the 2005 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championships in Italy, he was present on the historic evening in Istanbul when his latest club became European champions for the fifth time. After winning in Italy, Turkey progressed to the semi-final stage of the FIFA Under-17 World Championships held in Peru later in the same year, where they were beaten by Brazil. Şahin scored in that defeat, just as he had done in their quarter-final victory over China.

Between those two international tournaments the 16-year-old midfielder had joined Borussia Dortmund and he quickly became not only the youngest player to appear in the Bundesliga but also its youngest-ever scorer. But despite this sensational start to his professional career, he did not progress as quickly as had been expected and after two years with Dortmund he was allowed to make a loan-move to Feyenoord, where he was reunited with the Dutch coach who had signed him for Dortmund in 2005, Bert van Marwijk. The move to Holland seemed to kick-start his career and he also won his first tangible silverware at club level, the KNVB cup which Feyenoord won after defeating Roda 2-0 in the final.

On his return to Germany Şahin became much more of a regular in the Borussia Dortmund team and played in 88 out of a maximum 102 Bundesliga matches over the next three seasons. The third of those seasons, 2010/11, brought Dortmund their first domestic championship for nine years and 2011 was also the year in which Nuri Şahin was voted the Bundesliga’s best player.

We suggest you have a look at this brief clip of Şahin's career to date.

His performances for Borussia and for the Turkish national team had inevitably alerted a number of top European clubs. So it wasn’t a major surprise that after weeks of intense speculation about his future the player himself announced at a press-conference that he would be leaving the newly-crowned German champions to join Real Madrid. But although he had signed a lengthy six-year contract with Madrid, his first season in Spain was something of a letdown. Sidelined by injury, he was unable to make his Real debut until November and although his new club won the La Liga title by nine points from their fierce rivals Barcelona, Şahin only appeared in four of the 38 League matches. He actually appeared in more cup matches than he did in the League (four in the Champions League and two in the Copa del Rey).

With a promising career at a kind of stalling-point, a move to a club where he will hopefully get more playing-time would seem to be beneficial to both the player and his new club. Nobody in Liverpool is worrying yet about what might happen in a year’s time when the loan-period expires. All the staff at the Liverpool club (and its legion of supporters worldwide) need to know is that the club has attracted a 23-year-old who is already an experienced international footballer with over thirty full caps to join its ranks; and that the player is delighted to be joining such a famous and well-known club : “After the first conversation we had, I was left impressed by Brendan Rodgers. The project with Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers is the best for my situation I think - that is why I am here," he said. "I think the style I play is the same as how the manager wants the team to play. If you watch the game against Manchester City, you see that the style the team is playing is very good and of course, Liverpool has to play in the Champions League. A big club like Liverpool has to play every year in the Champions League and we will do everything to get in the top four." Liverpool supporters can only hope that his wish will come true because if it does there will surely be a good chance of a loan-spell becoming a permanent deal.

Copyright - Chris Wood ([email protected])

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